The men’s 100m is shaping up to be a race to anticipate in 2016, with World Record (WR) holder Usain Bolt further proving that he is the top challenger after coming from behind to race to a scintillating Season’s Best (SB) of 9.88s (+1.0) to win at the Racers Grand Prix meet in Jamaica.
Running his first sub 10s last month in Ostrava with a winning mark of 9.98s after clocking 10.05s at the Cayman Islands, Bolt has now gone a notch higher in his preparations to defend his Olympic title, outrunning a star-studded line-up on Saturday, June 11.
The race was so competitive that all top four finishers came in under 10s. Nickel Ashmeade finished 2nd in the race with an SB of 9.94s (+1.0), same time as Yohan Blake who ran his second sub 10s of the season to place 3rd.
Asafa Powell placed 4th in the race with a time of 9.98s. It was such a fast paced race that even Michael Frater who finished 8th clocked 10.04s, a time that could be enough to win another race. South Africa’s Akani Simbine was 6th in 10.01s.
Bolt is now the second fastest man this season, behind France’s Jimmy Vicaut who won at the Montreuil-sous-Bois meet with a World Lead (WL) of 9.86s, equaling his European Record jointly held with Francis Obikwelu.
Justin Gatlin had already run 9.88s this season at the Eugene Diamond League, but it was wind aided (+2.6). No doubt it will still be these two challenging for the Olympic GOLD in Rio.
Meanwhile, women’s 100m World Champion Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce bounced back from her injury setbacks and won her race with an SB of 11.09s. Fraser-Pryce had finished 8th in Eugene, and will be happy with the steady progress she is making in her quest to defend her Olympic title.
Barbare Pierre finished 2nd in the race in 11.11s as Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste finished 3rd in 11.15s. Carmelita Jeter placed 6th after clocking 11.26s.
In the men’s 200m, Miguel Francis raced to the 3rd fastest time this year winning in 19.88s (+1.2). The 21-year old will be carrying the hopes of his country, Antigua when he competes in Rio. Jamaica’s Julian Forte finished 2nd in 20.18s (+1.2) with Warren Weir 3rd in 20.32s (+1.2)
If Bahamian Shaunae Miller decides to compete in the 200m and 400m, there is a possibility that she could medal in both after she claimed victory in the half-lap race.
Miller won the 200m in a National Record (NR) of 22.05s, taking her to No.3 in the ranking this year behind Dafne Schippers and Tori Bowie, and she now accounts for the 4th fastest time in that distance this year. Jenna Prandini finished 2nd in 22.39s with Audra Segree 3rd in 22.89s.
Reigning World Champion in the men’s 400m, Wayde Van Niekerk was in action in the 300m where he stormed to an NR of 31.03s, with LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay following in 31.23s and 31.64s respectively. Botswana’s Isaac Makwala was 5th in 31.91s.
Machel Cedenio outclassed the rest of the field to win the men’s 400m in 44.37s, with Grenada’s Bralon Taplin following in 44.76s, with homeboy Javon Francis coming 3rd in 44.81s.
Former World Champion David Oliver raced to victory in the 110 Hurdles in 13.09s as Deuce Carter followed in 13.20s. Sharika Nelvis finished ahead of World Champion Danielle Williams (12.77s) in the 100m Hurdles, clocking 12.61s.
USA’s Johnny Dutch claimed the men’s 400m Hurdles title in 48.10s, finishing ahead of the Jamaican pair of Roxroy Cato (48.98s) and Annsert Whyte (49.25s). Nigeria’s Miles Ukaoma competed in the race, finishing 6th in a time of 49.62s.
Ghanaian Record holder Nadia Eke won the women’s Triple Eke with a leap of 13.51m, while Chaunte Lowe won the women’s High Jump with a clearance of 1.93m.