BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter email@example.com
Former world recond holder Asafa Powell (right) crosses the finish line to win the men’s 100m in 9.84 seconds ahead of American Ryan Bailey (left) and Nesta Carter (centre). (PHOTO: BRYAN CUMMINGS)
FORMER world record holder Asafa Powell restored pride to the Jamaican camp with a world-leading 9.84 seconds in the 100m in silencing a strong field including American Ryan Bailey, while newcomer Elaine Thompson proved to be ‘The Real McCoy’ in winning the 100m in 10.97 seconds at the Jamaica Invitational International Meet at the National Stadium last night.
Spurred on by a large crowd, Powell brought the house down in making a grand return to competitive action on local soil. He left the blocks like a bullet, kept his form well and powered home in 9.84 seconds, the 84th time he has dipped below the 10-second barrier.
But, more importantly, he defeated Bailey, who felt the wrath of the Jamaican public for his ‘throat-cutting’ gesture toward Usain Bolt after anchoring the US to victory in the 4x100m at the IAAF World Relays in The Bahamas last week.
Bailey, who was booed throughout despite a concerted effort to win over the crowd, clocked 9.93 seconds to finish second ahead of Nesta Carter in 9.98 seconds. Jamaica’s Andrew Fisher was fourth in a personal best of 10.01 seconds.
Thompson, who had the world-leading time of 10.92 seconds done at the UTech Classic a few weeks ago, showed that she will be a force to be reckoned with in the 100m, beating a world-class field in 10.97 seconds.
Thompson, 22, the training partner of sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, wasn’t the best away but recovered well and led Commonwealth Games champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria and American star Allyson Felix at the half-way mark before impressively pulling away for a comfortable win. Okagbare was second in 11.06 seconds with Felix third in 11.18 seconds.
In arguably the performance of the meet, the emerging American Jasmin Stowers threw down the gauntlet in the 100m hurdles with a magnificent 12.39sec clocking in establishing a new meet record, lowering her world-leading mark set two weeks ago by .01 seconds. Stowers was miles clear of the Jamaican sister pair of Danielle Williams (12.77) and Shermaine Williams (12.89).
Jamaica’s premier sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was third in the women’s 200m in 22.37 seconds. Running in her bright orange outfit, Fraser-Pryce came off the bend on the shoulders of Tori Bowie of the US, but both were caught by the fast-finishing Shaunae Miller of The Bahamas in an impressive 22.14 seconds. Bowie clocked 22.29 for second. Sherone Simpson was fourth with 22.64 seconds.
Meanwhile, Jamaican-born Sanya Richards-Ross of the US continued her good form in romping home in the 400m in a world-leading 49.95 seconds. Richards-Ross thwarted the challenge of her compatriot Francena McCorory and actually won going away. McCorory was second in 50.73sec with Jamaica’s Stephenie McPherson third with 50.98 seconds.
Then the nation’s promising quarter-miler Javon Francis, running from lane two, ran the race of his life and dipped below the 45-second barrier for the first time clocking 44.90 for third behind the Asian record holder Yousef Al-Masral of Saudi Arabia with 44.59 seconds. Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt of the US was second in 44.80 seconds.
Earlier, in the women’s development 400m, Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson won impressively in 51.43 seconds ahead of the African pair of Tjipkapora Herunga of Namibia in 52.27, and Kabange Mupopo of Zambia third in 52.67 seconds.
Former Munro College star Delano Williams of Great Britain took the men’s 400m development event in a personal best of 45.42 seconds ahead Dylan Borlee of Belgium with 45.70, with Ibra Anne Mame of France third in 45.92 seconds.
In the women’s 3,000m steeple chase, despite finishing last in 12:03.86 minutes and being lapped, Jamaica’s Danielle James got a rousing applause as she sprinted home nearly three minutes after the race was won by Bridget Frenek of the US in 9:46.44 minutes. American Sarah Pease in 9:55.19 outsprinted Puerto Rico’s Beverly Ramos with 9:55.33 for second spot.
Kori Carter of the US took the women’s 400m hurdles in 55.12 seconds, catching Jamaica’s Janieve Russell at the last hurdle to win going away. Russell clocked 55.29 seconds and held off American Tiffany Williams in 55.35 seconds.
American 2008 Olympic 400m bronze medallist Bershawn Jackson easily won his pet event in 48.47 seconds. It was the 60th time Jackson had dipped below 48.5 seconds and was well clear of Jamaica’s Leford Green with 49.22 seconds. Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jeffrey Gibson of The Bahamas was third in 49.42 seconds.