KINGSTON, Jamaica (CARIBUPDATE/Nov 9, 2016) — Jamaica’s Olympic sprint double champions Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson are among the three Caribbean athletes nominated as finalists for the IAAF Athlete of the Year award, in the male and female categories respectively.
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (CARIBUPDATE/Aug 26, 2016) — Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson overcame a start fiasco to produce a dominant run to win her favoured 100m at the Lausanne Diamond League meet yesterday.
Thompson, who became the first woman since American world record holder Florence Griffith Joyner at the Seoul Games in 1988 to win the sprint double at the Olympics, timed 10.78secs for the comfortable victory, with American Jenna Prandini in second in 11.11secs.
“There was a mix-up at the start, and we had to do a re-run. To be able to produce 10.78 on the second attempt is great,” said Thompson, adding that she had not changed since her feats in Rio.
“I’m the same person I was before the Olympic Games. The reality of being double Olympic champion has not really sunk in.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Jamaica to celebrate with my people and my family, but I will first run a few more races in Europe.”
Thompson’s teammate Omar McLeod was trumped in the men’s 110m hurdles, Cuba-born Spaniard Orlando Ortega crossing for victory in 13.11sec. McLeod was one-hundredth of a second off the Cuban’s pace.
“Winning and losing is part of the parcel of hurdles,” he said. “I am happy for Orlando.
“If I had won today I would have had a shot at the Diamond Race, but I cannot complain too much.
“Rio was what I wanted from this season.”
The US women swept the 100m hurdles at the Rio Games, but recently anointed world record holder Kendra Harrison was not among them as she missed selection at the notoriously cut-throat US Olympic trials.
She showed her form in Switzerland, however, clocking 12.44secs to win in another US sweep, finishing ahead of Dawn Harper-Nelson and Jasmin Stowers — both of whom also didn’t make it to Rio — in an impressive display of strength in depth in the event.
“I’m a bit rusty because I haven’t competed for a few weeks with not being in Rio,” Harrison said.
“My objective for the remainder of the season is to win the next two Diamond League races and hopefully get another personal best... another world record!”
LaShawn Merritt, who won bronze in the Rio 400m in which South African Wayde van Niekerk set a new world record, raced 44.50secs to seal victory in the one-lap race in a balmy Lausanne.
European 100m champion Churandy Martina ran a Dutch record of 19.81secs as he blasted to victory in the men’s 200m.
Running in lane seven, the Dutchman came off a good bend and maintained his composure to motor past Panama’s Alonso Edward.
“I have had my ups and downs in 2016, but I am very happy with how it shaped up,” said the 32-year-old Martina. “A national record at the end of the season, you cannot ask for more.
“I am running as well as I have ever run. Who knows, I can continue until Tokyo. If I manage to do so, I will have done five Olympics, and that is an achievement for a sprinter.”
Elsewhere, there were wins for Jamaican Asafa Powell in the men’s 100m (9.96secs) and American Sam Hendricks in the pole vault, his best of 5.92m pushing France’s Renaud Lavillenie into second.
And Darya Klishina, Russia’s sole competitor in Rio, made the podium in the women’s long jump, finishing third with a best of 6.50m in a competition won by Serbia’s Olympic bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic (6.83).
“Mentally this has been a very tough season,” she said. “I am happy to be back and to be competing. This is what you want as an athlete.
“I hope the situation with Russia is sorted soon, and we athletes just have to focus on performing.”