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Record-breaking Richards, Thompson shine in Morocco

Monday, July 17, 2017

Jamaica's O'Dayne Richards broke his own national shot put record with a massive throw of 21.96 metre, while 100m star Elaine Thompson sped to a meet record of 10.87 seconds at the Rabat Diamond League yesterday in Morocco.

Richards, who won bronze at the 2015 World Championship in Beijing and was eighth at the Rio Olympics last year, finished second and erased the 21.69m he achieved twice in 2015.

“I am very happy for this national record; it is a good start. I am aiming to improve my performance and I am looking forward to the World Championships to win the golden medal,” said a confident Richards.

American and world leader Ryan Crouser won with a 22.47m and continued his remarkable feat of throwing over 22m. In fact, he had three throws over 22m — 22.21m, 22.44 and 22.47m. Richards started with 20.88, then fouled on his second before taking Jamaica's national record closer to the 22-metres mark with 21.96m.

Ryan Whiting of the US was third with 21.26 and Kondrad Bukowiewcki of Poland fourth with 21.12m.

Crouser continued to lead the Diamond League standing with 24 points ahead of Bukowiewcki on 10 in third spot. Richards is sixth on seven points.

Jamaica's sprint queen Elaine Thompson clocked an impressive 10.87 (0.3 m/s) and for her 14th-straight 100m win.

The Olympic champion got out well, but just as she came out of her drive phase and was relaxing, Marie-Josee Ta Lou charged up on her outside. Thompson responded and found another gear and moved away for a facile victory. Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast was second in a season's best of 10.90s with Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago third in 11.02. Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor of Nigeria was fourth in 11.03. Jamaica's Jura Levy and Christania Williams were seventh and ninth in 11.18 and 11.28, respectively.

Thompson, who broke her own meeting record of 11.02 set last year, consolidated top spot in the Diamond League point standing with 32 points. Ta Lou is second with 27 and Ahye third on 21 points.

Thompson, who has the top two times in the world with 10.71 and 10.78, was pleased with her performance after running 10.94 last week in Paris.

“I'm pleased with my race. I came here last year and the organisers did a lot of effort for me. My races are going fine, I'm in the shape that I want to be in and I'm looking forward to the London WC,” said Thompson.

Jamaica's Kimberley Williams leapt to 14.31m for second in the women's triple jump at the Rabat Diamond League.

Williams, 28, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, was second to Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia, who won with 14.51m. Paraskevi of Greece was third with 14.21m ahead of veteran Olga Rypakova of Kazhastan with 14.20m.

Ibarguen leads the standing with 15 points ahead of Rypakova and Williams with 11 points each.

The much anticipated 400m women's clash never really materialised as the lanky Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo easily won in a meet record 49.80. The controversial South African Caster Semenya, the Olympic two-lap champion, could not live with the early pace and was seventh in season's best 51.53.

Jamaica's Novlene Williams-Mills and Shericka Jackson finished fourth and fifth in 51.18 and 51.20, respectively. Americans Natasha Hasting and Quanera Hayes were second and third in 50.86 and 51.08, respectively.

Miller-Uibo's meeting record is the fourth best this season, bettered by Americans Allyson Felix with 49.65 and Hayes' 49.72. Miller-Uibo has the third- best time of 49.77.

Janieve Russell was the best placed of the four Jamaican's in the women's 400m hurdles ran in two heats. Russell clocked 54.36 and was second to Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic in 54.22 in heat one in a race in which freshly minted national champion Rhonda Whyte finished eighth in 56.00 and 11th overall.

Ristananna Tracey won heat two in 55.18 with her sister Nikita Tracey third in 55.60. Petra Fontanive of Switzerland was second in 55.35. Ristananna Tracey was pleased with her run as she fine-tuned her preparation for London.

In the men's 200m, Jamaica's Rasheed Dwyer and Warren Weir struggled to sixth and seventh in 20.43 (0.4 m/s) and 20.48 respectively.

Canadian Andre DeGrasse won in a meet record 20.03 after pulling clear from the pack 60m from home. American champion Ameer Webb was second in 20.18, with Zharnel Hughes — formerly of Kingston College and Anguilla, now representing Great Britain, establishing his seasonal best of 20.22 in third spot. American 400m champion Fred Kerley was fourth in 20.27.

—Howard Walker