Olympic bronze medalist Kirani James was an impressive winner in the 400m at the Memorial Borisa Hanzekovia 2021 Meeting in Zagreb on Tuesday when Shanieka Ricketts ended her season with a meet record effort in the triple jump.

James won in commanding fashion clocking a meet record 44.46. Looking fresh and fast even as his season winds down, James was more than a half-second faster than Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who faded down the stretch to clock 45.15.

Italy’s Edoardo Scotti ran 45.30 for third.

Ricketts, meanwhile, closed her season with a meet record of 14.77m to win the triple jump ahead of Nesa Filipic, who jumped 14.31m for second place. Senni Salminen was third with 14.24m.

Once again, Shericka Jackson had to settle for the runner-up spot in a race with Christine Mboma of Namibia. The teenager ran a meet record of 22.04 pulling away from Jackson, who ran 22.30. Athonique Strachan of the Bahamas ran third in 23.05.

Similarly, Ronald Levy played second fiddle to the USA’s Devon Allen in the 110m hurdles. Allen ran a personal best of 12.99 in what was an unexpectedly comfortable win ahead of the Olympic bronze medalist who ran 13.10 for second place whole Hansle Parchment, the Olympic gold medalist was third in 13.12.

Janieve Russell ran 55.45 for third in the 400m hurdles race won by Panama’s Gianna Woodruff in 54.67. Anna Ryzhykova was second in 54.87.

Marvin Bracy had another impressive win in the 100m clocking 9.86 while pulling away from Ronnie Baker (9.97) and Trayvon Bromell (10.03). Julian Forte ran 10.20 for fifth.

Shadae Lawrence ended her season with a third-place finish in the discus with a throw of 60.80m. Olympic champion, the USA’s Valarie Allman throw 69.63m for the win over Sandra Perkovic (66.48m).

 

Elaine Thompson-Herah was the only Caribbean athlete to win on the final day of the Diamond League season in Zurich on Thursday but a few others came very close.

Eighteen-year-old Christine Mboma topped a talented field of women over 200m at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday when Natoya Goule closed out the action on the track by winning the 800m.

The marquee event, however, was the 200m and it lived up to expectations.

The Namibian, the Olympic silver medalist and World U20 champion, running on from behind, surged past Shericka Jackson with 30m to go and won in 21.84. Jackson was again under 22 seconds, clocking 21.95 while Dina Asher-Smith finished third in a season-best 22.03.

The much-talked-about Sha’Carri Richardson was never a factor. She trailed off the curve and was passed down the stretch by Mboma and Asher-Smith to finish fourth in 22.45.

Mboma was elated at getting her first Diamond League win.

“I was really excited to run here in Brussels. It was my first Diamond League experience and to be able to win in such a strong field is great,” she said.

“It has been a very tough and busy season with the Olympics and the World junior championships, but I'm still in good shape. I ran almost a personal best today, so that pleases me. I still have one race to go in Zurich and after that, I will take some rest.”

Jackson, meantime, was disappointed at not winning enjoyed the competition.

“I´m happy with my race but I really wanted to win today,” she said.

“I had a good start so I´m happy with that but there´s still room for improvement. I was able to accelerate towards the end but couldn´t get the win. I loved to race here and the feeling was good.”

Similarly, Asher-Smith was happy with her season-best.

“I´m so happy with my race! I ran a season's best and had a good feeling. It felt so good to be here and to be able to run this fast,” said the Brit, who was unable to compete in the 200m because of a hamstring injury.

“I worked so hard after my injury to return and feel strong again. I really love to run here in Brussels. I still have a few races to go so I hope I can improve myself and feel good. The relaxed feeling is back so I´m very happy with that.”

Goule, a finalist at the Tokyo Olympics, ran a strategic race behind the pacemaker but then assumed the lead with 300m to go.

She would hold that lead until the end to win her first Diamond League race in 1:58.09, holding off Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson, who clocked 1:58.16 for second place. Jemma Reekie also of Great Britain was third in 1:58.77.

´I’m extremely happy with my win today! I´m just so excited and happy to win my first Diamond League race,” she said.

“I have to thank God and my coach for believing in me. To race here today, especially against these girls. They are all so strong. I have a lot of respect for Keely Hodgkinson. She´s so good and humble, a very good athlete and still so young. So I´m very happy I could still sprint and take the win. The big crowd today definitely helped with that. You just feel everyone´s excitement for today. I hope I can win in Zurich as well but it will be hard.”

Earlier, Megan Tapper was third in the 100m hurdles but there was misfortune for Danielle Williams, who appeared to suffer an injury and limped across the line in eighth. She was eventually disqualified.

Tapper, the Olympic bronze medalist, got off to a fast start but was eventually caught by Tobi Amusan and Nadine Visser, who crossed the line together and were credited with 12.69. Tapper clocked 12.77 for her second podium finish in the Diamond League this season.

There was no Karsten Warholm or Rai Benjamin in the 400m hurdles but it was no less dramatic as Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos and the British Virgin Islands’ Kyron McMaster engaged in a stirring battle that the latter looked like winning after seven hurdles.

However, the Brazilian eased into the lead over the final hurdle and held it to win in 48.24. McMaster finished second in 48.31.

Jaheel Hyde was in position to finish on the podium but seemed to run out of steam down the stretch and was unable to hold off a fast-finishing Yasmani Copello of Turkey, who took third in 48.45. Hyde had to settle for fourth in 48.91.

The men’s 400m was won by American Michael Cherry in a new personal best and meet record 44.03 leaving Kirani James (44.51) and Isaac Makwala (44.83) in his wake.

 

 

 

 

 

Grenadian 400m bronze medallist, Kirani James, has expressed gratitude to be back on the Olympic podium, after a difficult four years, which included being diagnosed with a debilitating disease and the passing of his mother.

As a 19-year-old James, was the toast of the Caribbean after claiming 400m gold at the 2012 London Games, four years later he battled to silver behind South African Wayde van Niekerk who won the event in a blistering world record time.

Shortly after, however, the athlete’s fortunes took a drastic turn for the worst, and, in an event as brutal and as grueling as the 400m, the odds were stacked against the athlete getting a third Olympic medal in Tokyo.  He defied them anyway.

In 2017, James had found himself struggling with fatigue and weight loss.  He dropped around 20 pounds before being diagnosed with the thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease.  Just two years later, he faced perhaps even more difficult circumstances after his mother Pamela James passed away following a lengthy battle with a terminal disease.

At the 2019 World Championship James had fought his way back to competition weight but finished fifth in the final leaving many to wonder if he would ever be back amongst the elite.  Just a year later the James had to deal with the cancelation of the Olympic Games and the disruption and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

After clocking a time of 43.88 in the semi-finals, his fastest since 2012, the athlete showed that he was doubtlessly back to his best, and, despite not crossing the line first in the final, after four years of tribulation, the bronze medal was a sweet reward for the Grenadian.

“It’s always great.  You have to give credit to all eight guys in the race, they are so, so good, so it's tough to race against them.  I’m just happy to compete against those guys and get a medal,” James said.

“I had an illness.  It’s still going on, I have to be on medication for the rest of my life.  2019 I lost my mother who was the matriarch of our family,” James added.

“I’ve had to deal with Covid, the quarantines and the lockdowns and not having a place to train and trying to figure things out.  So, it’s been a whirlwind, a roller coaster.”

James became the first man in Olympic history to win a medal in the event at three different Games.

  Women’s 4x400 Metres

 Cuba and Jamaica both advanced to the final.

The Cuban team of Zurian Hechevarria, Rose Mary Almanza, Sahily Diago and Lisneidy Veitia ran 3:24.04 to finish second in heat 1.

Junelle Bromfield, Roniesha McGregor, Janieve Russell and Stacey Ann Williams formed the Jamaican quartet that finished second in heat 2 to advance with 3:21.95.

The Bahamas quartet of Doneisha Anderson

Megan Moss, Brianne Bethel and Anthonique Strachan also competed in heat 1 but did not finish the race.

 Men’s 400 Metres

The Caribbean secured two more medals in the men’s 400 metres.

Bahamian Steven Gardiner won gold in a time of 43.85 and Grenada’s Kirani James secured bronze in 44.19.

 This is Gardiner’s second straight global gold medal after winning at the 2019 Doha World Championships.

James has now won 400 metres medals at the last three Olympics after winning gold in London in 2012 and silver in Rio 2016.

Jamaica’s Christopher Taylor was also in the final and finished sixth in a new personal best 44.79.

Shericka Jackson picked up from where she left off at Jamaica’s national championships a week ago and Tajay Gayle equalled his season-best in the long jump at Sunday’s Stockholm Diamond League meet where Kirani James raced to victory in the 400m.

The 2019 World Championships 400m bronze medalist, who shocked her fans with lifetime bests of 10.77 and 21.82 at her national championships a week ago, ran an impressive 22.10 to win the 200m ahead of Marie Josee Ta Lou, who delivered a season-best 22.36.

Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi was third in 22.65, a season-best time and national record.

Earlier, in one of the fastest races run this season, Natoya Goule ran close to her 800m lifetime best of 1:56.15 when she finished second to Cuba’s Rose Mary Almanza in the two-lap event.

The diminutive Jamaican clocked a season-best 1:56.44 after chasing the Cuban, who set a new meet record and a brand new personal best of 1:56.28.

Kate Grace ran 1:57.36 for third.

It was a similar story in the men’s 400m where Grenada’s Kirani James and Trinidad’s Leon Lendore engaged in a scrap with 50m to go before James found enough to hold on for victory in 44.63. Lendore ran a season-best 44.73 for second place.

 Leimarvin Bonevacia of the Netherlands was also closing fast but ran out of real estate to finish third in 44.80, a season-best.

Gayle equalled his season-best of 8.55m which was aided by a trailing wind of 2.2m/s that saw him emerge the victor in the long jump. Cuba’s long-jump sensation Juan Miguel Echevarria jumped 8.29m for second place.

Thomas Montler was third. The Swede jumped a personal best leap of 8.23m.

Alisson dos Santos further established himself as one of the best 400m hurdlers in the world this year when he ran 47.33 to win in a new lifetime best and area record, eclipsing the record he set in Oslo on July 1 when Karsten Warholm set a new world record of 46.70.

Turkey’s Yasmani Coppello ran a season-best 48.19 for second place. Jamaica’s Kemar Mowatt also ran a season-best 48.75 for third.

The women’s event was a classic as the Netherlands’ Femke Bol and the USA’s Shamier Little raced stride for stride to the line with the former just managing to cross first in a new lifetime best of 52.37. The time was also a Diamond League record, national record and meet record.

Little ran a lifetime best of 52.39 in the race where the first three across the line in under 53 seconds as Anna Rhyzhykova clocked a personal best and national record of 52.96.

Jamaica’s Janieve Russell ran 54.08 for fourth while Leah Nugent was sixth in 55.01.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kirani James heads a six-member Grenada team to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

James, the 2012 Olympic champion, and Grenada’s first Olympic gold medalist is one of four track and field athletes named including 2019 World Champion Anderson Peters, Meleni Rodney, the 2014 Youth Olympics bronze medalist and veteran decathlete Linden Victor.

Two swimmers – Kimberly Ince (100m backstroke) and Delron Felix (100m freestyle) – have also been named to the team. The IOC awarded Grenada two wild card places for swimming.

The accompanying coaching staff will include, James’ coach Harvey Glance as well as throws coach Paul Phillip, decathlon coach Joshua Priester and pole vault coach Thomas Fitzsimon. Valencia Nathaly Sihera is the swimming coach.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocked a season-best 10.84 to record her first win over 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Doha today.

Olympic and World 400m champion Kirani James has revealed that while his Grave’s Disease is under control he is not yet certain when he will open his season despite the fact the Olympics are only six months away.

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