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.

As she looks forward to what could be her final race this season on the final day of the Diamond League season in Zurich on Thursday, double, double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah said she kind of surprised herself with the incredible success she has experienced this year.

Since she won her first sprint double in 2016, the first woman to do so since Florence Griffith-Joyner at the Seoul Games in 1988, Thompson-Herah failed to win a medal at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. However, at the Toyko 2020 Olympics this past summer, Thompson-Herah became the first woman in Olympic history to win back-to-back sprint doubles.

She set a new Olympic record of 10.51 in the 100m and set a lifetime best of 21.53 to win the 200m titles. She added a third gold medal as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that set a new national record of 41.02, the third-fastest time in history.

Weeks later she won the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic in 10.54, the second-fastest time ever run and then followed up with 10.64 to finish second to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Lausanne and then 10.72 in Paris.

Speaking at a press conference this morning before she takes to the track on Thursday, the history-making Olympic champion said she has not yet had time to take it all in.

“It hasn’t sunk it as yet. I think because I knew I had a long season I don’t want to get too carried away, too excited and the focus is still continuing the season for next year and the years to come. After the season ends I can say hurrah, hooray and I watch back my videos and see what I have done and say yes, I did it,” she said.

“Being the fastest woman alive, I think I still haven’t known what I have done yet. Because I have put in all the work and I have achieved, it is not something I never expect myself to do but my expectations were not high but I think I surprised myself this entire season with everything that I have done so far.”

On Thursday, Thompson-Herah will line up against Dina Asher-Smith, Natasha Morrison, Javianne Oliver, Daryll Neita, Marie Jose Ta Lou and the Swiss pair of Ajla Del Ponte and Mujinga Kambundji in the 100m.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

After suffering her first defeat of the season, the USA’s Sha Carri Richardson is already putting it behind her and focusing on the future, vowing to always be competitive.

Richardson, who went into Gateshead with the three fastest times in the 100m this season – 10.72, 10.74 and 10.77 – was collared by Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, who sped to victory in 11.35s in rainy, windy and cold conditions.

The headwind was measured at -3.1m/s. The American was well back in 11.44s. She was just ahead of Marie Jose Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast who clocked in at 11.48. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who like Asher-Smith, was running her first 100m of the season, clocked 11.51s for fourth.

Afterwards, a defiant Richardson said: “I'm happy with my race. I'm definitely proud that I was able to execute and now I know what I need to go back and work on and what I need to get better at.

“This won't be the last time that I'm going to line up against these ladies and I want to let the world know and let the ladies know that I'm here to compete just as well as they've done for many years. I'm here to show them what I'm good at. I'm definitely looking forward to running in some sunshine next week in Doha!”

Meanwhile, the victor was ecstatic about the outcome.

“I feel really good. Conditions were far from ideal for sprinting but the most important thing is to come away with a good result and a win and I was very happy to do that. I think all in all today was more of an experience but the only thing that can indicate Tokyo is the Olympic final itself,” she said.

“I want to stay focused, do well and get better from here.”

 

 

 

It is the clash the world has been waiting for and it comes May 23 at the Müller Grand Prix in Gateshead, the first Wanda Diamond League meeting this year.

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