Kendra Harrison on her way to winning the 100m hurdles at the adidas Boost Boston Games (© Getty Images)
Meeting records fell in all four hurdles races at the adidas Boost Boston Games – part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series – with world record-holders Grant Holloway and Kendra Harrison among the winners.
The women’s 100m hurdles was the strongest line-up of the meet, featuring four of the top six women in the world rankings. Harrison, however, once again proved too strong for the rest of the field, notching up her fourth win at the distance this year.
Christina Clemons, who took silver behind Harrison at the World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018, started strongly and was level with Harrison at half way. Harrison was able to maintain her consistency over final barriers and inched ahead of her opponents to win in a meeting record of 12.49 (-0.9m/s).
Clemons lost a bit of rhythm towards the end, allowing Tobi Amusan to come through and take second in 12.62, 0.10 ahead of Clemons.
Poetry in motion.— Continental Tour Gold (@ContiTourGold) May 23, 2021
12.49 for @Ken_AYE_ who continues her fine form in Boston.#ContinentalTourGold
“I got the job done,” said Harrison, the world record-holder for the distance. “My coach wanted me to come out and execute, and I did that. I’m confident in myself this year, and the way I’ve been performing, things are looking good.”
Moments later, Holloway was out on track for the men’s 110m hurdles. In complete contrast to the women’s race, it was essentially a one-athlete affair as a composed Holloway streaked ahead of his opponents to win in 13.20 (0.0m/s).
Shane Brathwaite of Barbados was second in 13.71 while world record-holder Aries Merritt was further back in fifth (14.26) in what was just the third clash ever between the two world record-holders.
“It meant a lot (to line up against Merritt),” said Holloway. “He’s one of my mentors; I try to model myself on him, he’s like an older brother to me. It feels good to have him next to me, but at the end of the day, I’m trying to have what he has.”
Jamaica’s Shiann Salmon produced one of the biggest surprises of the meeting, not only in defeating a strong line-up in the 200m hurdles, but also clocking an unofficial world best for the rarely run distance.
Ebony Morrison, the meeting record-holder, started strong, as did the in-form Shamier Little. But Morrison faded in the second half while Salmon, competing in lane one, finished strongly to overtake Little for the win in 24.86. Little’s time of 24.91 was also inside the previous world best for the 200m hurdles on a straight (25.05).
“It’s my first time running 200m on a straight,” said Salmon, the 2018 world U20 400m hurdles silver medallist. “It was a very strange experience and I was quite nervous, but my coach and I talked about it beforehand and I made sure I just focused on myself and my lane.”
The men’s event was similarly close. USA’s Amere Lattin, a strong all-round hurdler, got out well and led over the first few flights of hurdles. But Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos, as is his trademark, finished strongly to edge ahead, winning in a meeting record of 22.11 – just 0.01 outside the unofficial world best. Lattin was second in 22.18.
“In the 400m hurdles, the second half is usually my best part of the race, so I’m very happy to win over the shorter event today,” said the Brazilian 400m hurdles record-holder.
Miller-Uibo and Blake impress over 200m
Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo stepped down to the 200m, the distance she intends to contest at the Tokyo Olympics. And if her display in Boston is anything to go by, she will be hard to beat at the half-lap event in the Japanese capital.
USA’s Kortnei Johnson went out hard, but Miller-Uibo ran her own controlled race and built up enough of a lead in the second half that the Bahamian was able to ease off the gas in the closing stages, crossing the line in 22.08 (-0.1m/s) – a time that only she has ever bettered for the 200m straight.
Johnson was second in 22.40 and 400m specialist Wadeline Jonathas third in 22.57.
“Every time I step on the track, I want to do my best and have fun with it,” said Miller-Uibo. “I’m really excited for it (running the 200m at the Olympics). Training has been going well. We’ve been dealing with some very minor injuries but we’re getting through it.”
Fellow Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk was not quite so fortunate in the men’s event. The South African sprinter was in contention until the final 30 metres when he eased up and jogged across the line, limping slightly.
It left Canada’s Jerome Blake and Britain’s Zharnel Hughes in a two-man battle for the victory with Blake getting it on the line, 19.89 to 19.93 (-0.3m/s). Van Niekerk, who recently returned from a long injury spell, confirmed afterwards that he’d simply experienced some discomfort in his hip and so decided to play it safe by easing up.
Isiah Young got the better of world 200m champion Noah Lyles in the 100m. He started well and Lyles was unable to catch him in the latter stages with Young charging through the finish line in a season’s best of 9.94 (0.5m/s). Lyles, who clocked a season’s best of 10.03 in the heats, finished second in 10.10.
Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 100m in 11.05 from Gabby Thomas (11.16).
Jereem Richards, better known as a 200m and 400m sprinter, showed a good turn of speed to win the men’s 150m. Yohan Blake and Andrew Hudson battled for the lead in the early stages, but Richards timed his finish well to ease ahead and take the win in 14.75 (0.1m/s). Blake got the verdict over Hudson with both men recorded at 14.94.
Lynna Irby confirmed her all-round sprint prowess to take the women’s 150m in 16.53, running into a -1.5m/s headwind. World 200m silver medallist Brittany Brown was second in 16.65.
“People think of me as a 400m runner, but I say I’m simply a sprinter,” said Irby, who confirmed she intends to contest the 200m and 400m at the US Olympic Trials.
Goule and Arop take road victories
For just the second time in more than 20 clashes between the pair, Pan-American 800m champion Natoya Goule beat world 800m bronze medallist Ajee Wilson in what was their first duel over 600m.
Held on the roads of Boston earlier in the day, Wilson tried to push the pace in the second half but was unable to shake off the challenge from Goule as the Jamaican timed her kick to perfection to win in 1:24. Wilson finished second in 1:26.
Canada’s Marco Arop launched a long run for home in the men’s 600m and was rewarded with a comfortable 1:15 victory, beating Sam Ellison and Jamie Webb, both timed at 1:16.
Puerto Rico’s Rob Napolitano got carried away slightly in the men’s mile and misjudged his finishing spurt. After building up a significant lead in the closing stages, he was soon reeled in by the leading competitors with Olympic 800m bronze medallist Clayton Murphy finishing first in 4:01, closely followed by Sam Prakel and Eric Avila.
Nikki Hiltz’s victory in the women’s mile was more clear-cut. They waited on the shoulder of US compatriot Rebecca Mehra before forging ahead to win in 4:31.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics