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Ahye bags Prefontaine bronze

Sunday, May 28, 2017
Michelle Lee Ahye

T&T’s Michelle-Lee Ahye sped across the line in a season’s best 10.97 seconds to place third in the women’s 100 metres at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, USA yesterday afternoon.

Ahye was quick out of the blocks and held the lead some 30 metres out. She stayed among the leaders midway down the track but Moralake Akinosun came from behind to take the win in a wind-aided 10.94 (2.1m/s), marginally ahead of Murielle Ahoure (10.96) and Ahye (10.97).

“It’s always an incredible field in the women’s 100m,” said Akinosun, “but the finish is the best part of my race so I knew if I just put myself in the mix I could pull it off.”

The local sprinter finished ahead of Jamaican duo Veronica Campbell-Brown, an eight-time Olympic medallist, and Simone Facey, who were fourth and fifth in times of 11.00 and 11.13, respectively. Americans Tiana Bartoletta (11.15), Dezerea Bryant (11.20) and Barbara Pierre (11.23) filled the remaining three spots.

The men’s version of the race was won in commanding fashion by Ronnie Baker, who powered down the track to a wind-aided 9.86 (2.4m/s). Su Bingtian demonstrated China’s continuing development in the event with a second-place finish in 9.92, with Britain’s Chijindu Ujah third in 9.95. Olympic bronze medallist Andre De Grasse was fourth in 9.96, with Justin Gatlin fifth in 9.97.

It was billed as the race of the weekend, and the women’s 200m duly delivered a contest for the ages at the Classic, with Tori Bowie upsetting the odds and blasting to victory in an IAAF Diamond League record of 21.77 (1.5m/s).

In truth, the race was as good as over the moment they turned for home, with Bowie already holding a sizeable advantage over the world’s fastest women. The Olympic 200m champion, Elaine Thompson, simply had no response to the US sprinter’s pace, nor did world champion Dafne Schippers.

In the end, it was Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo who got closest, the Bahamian powering home from lane eight to take second in a national record of 21.91. Thompson came home strongly for third in 21.98, with Schippers fourth in 22.30.

It exemplified the depth of the race that Allyson Felix, one of the greatest 200m runners in history, could manage no better than fifth in 22.33, just ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou (22.37).

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Ashley Spencer clocked the fastest time in the world this year and a lifetime best of 53.38 to take victory, edging US compatriot Shamier Little, who ran 53.44 for second. Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad was fifth in 54.53.

Omar McLeod continued his dominance in the men’s 110m hurdles, running yet another clean, clinical race to take victory in 13.01 ahead of Jamaican teammate Ronald Levy (13.10) and local fan favourite Devon Allen (13.11).

“My race wasn’t as sharp but I was glad I was able to get a clean run,” said McLeod. “I’m always consistent, but the preparation this year was different. I didn’t have to peak indoors, so I think I’m going to peak at the right time.”

In the 100m hurdles, Jasmin Stowers proved best of the seven US women in the line-up, and that, unsurprisingly, was also good enough for victory, clocking 12.59 (0.8m/s) ahead of compatriots Queen Harrison (12.64) and Dawn Harper Nelson (12.66).

LaShawn Merritt justified his favourite’s tag in the men’s 400m, taking victory in 44.79 ahead of Botswanan youngster Baboloki Thebe, who edged Vernon Norwood to take second, 45.04 to 45.05.


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