Sunday 9 August, 2020

Jamaican Tajay Gayle wins long jump at Shanghai Diamond League

Commonwealth Games fourth-place finisher Tajay Gayle continued his impressive season by winning the men’s long jump at the second meeting of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League, in Shanghai on Saturday.

The fast-rising Jamaican jumping star won with a fifth-round 8.24m leap, his only jump of the night beyond the eight-metre line. Wang Jianan of China was second at 8.16m, two centimetres ahead of African champion Ruswahl Samaai.

Meet record holder Luvo Manyonga was a non-starter, forced to the sidelines by a stomach bug.

Demar Forbes, the other Jamaican in the field, did not register a mark.

Gayle’s victory came two weeks after the University of Technology student achieved a big personal best effort of 8.30m (0.5mps), the second-best jump in the world this season, to win at the Nike Seniors Link Up Track and Field Meet in Kingston.

Gayle's new personal best of 8.30m jump ranked him as the third-best Jamaican on the all-time long jump list behind national record James Beckford (8.62m, achieved in Orlando, Florida on April 5, 1997) and Alain Bailey (8.35m, achieved in Knoxville, Tennessee on May 15, 2010).

There was another Jamaican victory in Shanghai as Omar McLeod, the world and Olympic champion, held off a determined challenge from China's Xie Wenjun to win the men’s 110m hurdles.

The 25-year-old McLeod came home in a season-best 13.12, just ahead of Wenjun, who clocked 13.17, also a season best.

Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov, the Diamond League and Continental Cup champion last year, finished third in 13.28 on his seasonal debut.

Earlier, Jamaica’s double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson clocked a season-best 11.14 seconds but it was only good enough for third place in the women’s 100m, her first effort at the distance this season.

The 26-year-old Thompson, who had a sub-par 2018 campaign, was slow from the blocks and struggled all the way to the line. Two years ago Thompson won the race in an impressive 10.78 seconds.

Aleia Hobbs, the 2018 US champion, made her Diamond League debut a notable one, taking victory convincingly in 11.03, 0.04 clear of Nigerian Blessing Okagbare. And she did it with a heavily taped wrist she broke two weeks ago while playing laser tag with some children.

Jamaica’s quarter-miler Stephenie Ann McPherson clocked a season-best 51.39 for fourth place in the women’s 400m.

Diamond League champion Salwa Eid Naser held off Sydney McLaughlin in another eagerly awaited face-off to take the victory. After contrasting starts - the Bahraini got out quickly while McLaughlin held back - they were virtually even midway through the final turn. As they entered the straight, Naser began to gradually pull away before stopping the clock in 50.65 to the American teenager's 50.78.

Christine Botlogetswe of Botswana clocked a season-best 51.29 for third place.

Danniel Thomas-Dodd, the world indoor bronze medallist last year, finished fifth in the women’s shot put with an effort of 18.54m in the fifth round, well short of the 19.48m she achieved this year to extend her own Jamaican record.

World leader Chase Ealey won the event, notching the biggest win of her young career, taking not only her first Diamond League victory, but also defeating world champion Gong Lijiao in the process.

The US indoor champion reached 19.58m in the second round, her one solid throw of the competition, but enough to hold off Gong, who responded with a 19.42m in the second round and 19.44m in the sixth.

Jamaican young quarter-miler Nathon Allen clocked a season-best 45.73 for fifth place in the men’s 400m. Akeem Bloomfield, another young Jamaican quarter-miler, was a non-starter.

Fred Kerley, the 2018 Diamond League champion, dominated the race in 44.81, more than half a second clear of his American teammate Michael Cherry, who clocked 45.48.

Jamaican Tyquendo Tracey finished ninth and last in the men's 100m in 10.18 seconds.

The race was won by Noah Lyles, who produced a thrilling come-from-behind victory over his American teammate Christian Coleman.

Both were credited with a 9.86 performance with Lyles, the Diamond League 200m champion getting the nod over Coleman, the series’s 100m winner last season, by a scant .006, 9.852 to 9.858.

Further back, Akani Simbine was third in 9.95 and Reece Prescod fourth, in 9.97.

Astonishingly, Lyles wasn’t even in the race until nearly 70 metres in, at which point he produced a phenomenal change of speed, seemingly switching gears from third to sixth. 

“This was a message to myself,” said Lyles, who chipped 0.02 from his previous personal best set last year. “The 100 has never been my dominant thing so I wanted to make sure this year that everybody knew I was a 100 and 200 runner, and not just a 200 runner kind of running the 100.”




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