Jamaica’s former world record holder, Asafa Powell, showed that he is still a top world class sprinter and produced another outstanding sprinting display to win the IAAF Zurich Diamond League 100 metres dash in 9.94 secs. on Thursday (September 1).
The victory takes him closer to the unique coveted milestone of one hundred “Sub-10 secs” in the 100m race, a feat that will underline his outstanding sprint legacy and one that will take someone very special and who must enjoy wonderful and robust health plus top athletic conditioning to get even half of that number, much less to go the full distance and try to eclipse it.
Already dubbed the “King of Sub-10s”; Powell won Zurich 100 comfortably at the end after being seriously challenged midway through the race. He was officially credited with his 97th legally auto-timed sub-10.
The well-deserved victory catapults him to the top of the Diamond League standings among the sprinters. He will collect the Diamond Trophy plus the extra cash bonus of $40,000 plus awarded to the overall leader at the end of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League season.
The 20 points gained pushed him ahead of Ivory Coast’s new record-holder, Ben Youssef Meite, who was relegated to third position, although he clocked the same 9.99 secs as South Africa’s champion, Akani Simbine, who clinched second by virtue of one of the smallest margins, four-thousandth of a second.
At age 40, Kittitian veteran sprinter, Kim Collins, continues to match strides with the best in the business with 10.10 secs and a creditable fourth place finish in the race and fourth in the overall standings. Great Britain’s rising star, Adam Gemili, was fifth with 10.11.
Jamaica’s newly-crowned Rio Olympics 110-metre high hurdles gold medallist, Omar McLeod, displayed brilliant running speed and willpower to outsprint more established world class campaigners like Netherlands champion, Churandy Martina (10.13 secs), Great Britain’s leading sprinter, Chijindu Ujah (10.13), and American, Michael Rogers (10.15), who finished behind him.
McLeod clocked 10.12 in his first Diamond League 100-metre flat race and with such an impressive performance; he must have caught the attention of other leading DL organisers for future engagements.
Grenada’s Bralon Taplin also improved his stature as a top quarter-miler, when he challenged American champion, LaShawn Merritt, for top honour in the 400-metre race.
Taplin finished second with 44.70 secs, while Merritt’s winning time was 44.64 which gave him enough points to emerge as the winner of the Diamond Trophy plus US$40,000 bonus for the topmost spot among the overall quarter-milers for the 2016 season.
Trinidadian-born and Rio Olympics 400-metre hurdles gold medallist, Kerron Clement, also found extra energy and power to rally back and clinched the overall winner’s title among the one-lap hurdlers. He won the race in 48.72 secs and will receive the Diamond Trophy and cash award at the Brussels Diamond League meet on Friday, September 9.
On the distaff side, the spotlight was on Jamaica’s newly-crowned Rio Olympics double sprint champion, Elaine Thompson, who produced a breathtaking sprinting display to maintain her superiority over the Netherlands world champion, Dafne Schippers, in one of the greatest half-lap races ever and in one of the strongest field assembled for the half-lap showdown.
The fast-finishing Thompson registered a new Diamond League record of 21.85 secs and narrowly edged out Schippers, who posted her season’s best of 21.86. It was a thrilling spectacle but Jamaica’s new “Golden Sprint Queen” prevailed in sensational fashion. American 2012 London Olympics 200m champion and three-time world champion, Allyson Felix, placed third in 22.02.
It was another outstanding outing for the Jamaican athletes especially Thompson, Powell and Christania Williams, who won the women 100m race, her first victory in the Diamond League.
In the 4×100 women relay, much interest was centred on the battle between Rio Olympics gold medallist team, USA and arch-rivals and silver-medallist, Jamaica
Williams made an excellent start and handed over to Thompson, who blazed through the second leg to Simone Facey, who made no mistake and skilfully handed over to two-time Olympic 200m champion, Veronica Campbell-Brown, who raced to a commanding victory with a time of 41.65 secs.
The USA self-destructed with a terrible mix-up with their second exchange and was disqualified.
And in another victorious march, American new 100-metre hurdles record-holder, Kendra Harrison, maintained her unbeaten Diamond League winning streak with her sixth victory in 12.63 secs.
She got home ahead of Great Britain’s Cindy Ofili (12.70) with American 2008 Beijing Olympic champion, Dawn Harper Nelson, third, (12.73).