Jamaica Gleaner / RABAT, Morocco:
OLYMPIC champion Elaine Thompson will lead the charge for Jamaica at today’s Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco.
It’s the tenth in the series and 14 Jamaicans will be in action in a meet where eight reigning Olympic champions will be on show.
This is the penultimate Diamond League meet before the London World Championships and for most of these athletes their final competition, so they will want to send out strong messages before going to London.
Thompson, the Diamond League leader in the women’s 100 metres will be gunning for 14 straight wins in the event. With a world leading 10.71 seconds and fresh off her 10.94 run a week ago in London she looks well set to continue her winning run.
The vastly improved Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire who was a close second to Thompson in Paris will be hoping to surprise the Jamaican. The Trinidad and Tobago pair of Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Michelle Lee Ahye, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare and Jamaica’ s Christania Williams and Jura Levy are also in the line up.
An event which will attract a lot of attention today will be the women’s 400m. Two Jamaicans are in the field, Rio de Janeiro Olympics bronze medallist, Shericka Jackson and Diamond League leader Novlene Williams Mills.
Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas has been in solid form this season, going sub 50 seconds twice over the distance, 49.77 seconds in Shanghai and 49.86, 11 days ago in Budapest. She is now ranked number three on the IAAF top list or the event, behind the United States duo of Quarena Haynes and Allison Felix. It was a confident Miller -Uibo who spoke at the IAAF press conference yesterday.
“I am coming to bring it on tomorrow (today) as I fear no one in the event and I am happy people are running fast because this will keep me on my toes,” said the Bahamian who is eyeing sub 49 seconds in the event this season.
our Jamaicans will be involved in the women’s 400m hurdles where there are two sections. Ristananna Tracy and her sister, Nikita will compete in the B final while new National champion Ronda Whyte, in her first Diamond League appearance, will face countrywoman, Janieve Russell in the A final. Russell is the fastest Jamaican in the event this season.
Kimberly Williams will be the other Jamaican female in action today as she will compete in the triple jump.
Jamaica will have two entrants in the men’s 200m as Warren Weir and Rasheed Dwyer will go up against he likes of Andre De Grasse of Canada, Diamond League leader in the event Ameer Webb of the United States and Fred Kerley the USA champion in the 400m.
National shot put champion Odayne Richards will compete in his pet event while little known Tajay Gayle, formerly of Papine High, will line up in the men’s long jump.
Schedule for Jamaicans
12 p.m: Shot put Men – Odayne Richards
12:10 p.m: Triple jump Women – Kimberly Williams
12:52 p.m: 400m hurdles B final (Women) – Ristananna Tracy, Nikita Tracy
1:03 p.m: 400m Hurdles A final (Women) A final- Ronda Whyte, Janieve Russell
1:30 p.m: Long jump Men – Tajay Gayle
1:50 p.m: 200m Men – Warren Weir, Rasheed Dwyer
2:12 p.m: 100m Women – Elaine Thompson, Jura Levy, Christania
2:37 p.m: 400m Women,- Novlene Williams Mills, Shericka Jackson
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