Zharnel Hughes wins the 100m in New York (© Jason Suarez)
When Zharnel Hughes woke up this morning, he wrote down ‘9.83’ as his predicted time for the men’s 100m at the USATF New York Grand Prix.
His guess turned out to be 100% accurate as he posted that exact time to win at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in New York on Saturday (24). But even so, the 27-year-old was as shocked as anyone with his performance.
Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake got off to the best start, then 2019 world champion Christian Coleman soon caught up. But Hughes started motoring in the second half and breezed past Blake and Coleman, opening up a healthy lead by the time he crossed the finish line in 9.83 (1.3m/s). Blake was second in 9.93 and Coleman third in 10.02.
Not only is Hughes’ 9.83 a world-leading time, it also takes 0.04 off the British 100m record that had stood to Linford Christie for almost 30 years. It also makes him the second-fastest European man of all time behind Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs.
Hughes’ winning time is the second-fastest 100m ever recorded in New York. The only man to have gone quicker is world record-holder Usain Bolt, whose 9.72 clocking here in 2008 was a world record at the time. Both men were coached to their performances by Glen Mills.
“I saw them ahead of me and I thought, ‘I’m coming for you’,” said Hughes. “So I just relaxed, and I could hear my coach’s voice in my head, ‘Zhaaaarnel, shoulders down!’ So I just trusted myself, maintained my speed, relaxed and let it flow.
“9.83 is a dream – I wrote this down this morning,” added Hughes, the 2018 European champion. “I can’t believe it. My coach also told me that I was going to run a PB in New York.
“I’m not rushing anything, though. Patience, patience, patience. The job is not done yet.”
“I always give respect to Linford,” Hughes said of Christie. “He always supports me every time I’m in the UK, and sometimes he helps out with my training sessions. I’m looking forward to seeing him, shaking his hand, and telling him that this is long overdue.”
Noah Lyles may not have clocked a world-leading time to win the 200m, but his 19.83 victory in the final event of the day was well received by the sell-out crowd.
The two-time world champion was level with rising sprint talent Issam Asinga after the first 50 metres, but Lyles then started to pull away and entered the home straight with a one-metre lead. That lead multiplied by the time he crossed the finish line in 19.83, with Asinga holding on for second place in 20.25.
“The crowd was the winner on this one,” said Lyles. “This race was really about having fun and trying to get up to top speed; especially in that first 100 – I was really proud of that moment.
Harrison and Roberts win hurdles duels
Both sprint hurdles races were decided on the line, with Kendra Harrison and Daniel Roberts getting the verdict.
Harrison got off to a strong start, but so too did 2015 world champion Danielle Williams and USA’s Alaysha Johnson. Williams had a slight advantage at half way, but former world record-holder Harrison then edged ahead and maintained her advantage until the end, holding off a fast-finishing Johnson.
Harrison won in a wind-assisted 12.29 (2.8m/s) from Johnson (12.30) with Williams a close third (12.33).
“I feel like the women’s hurdles is one of the toughest things out there,” said Harrison, who is now coached by Bob Kersee and trains alongside Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Athing Mu. “You definitely have to bring your ‘A’ game because any of these girls can come out here and take it. That’s what makes me train harder. It’s not an easy task.”
Kendra Harrison wins the 100m hurdles in New York (© Jason Suarez)
Just moments later, there was a similarly close finish in the men’s 110m hurdles.
Daniel Roberts held off a strong challenge from Devon Allen, the winner here last year, to win in 13.01 (1.6m/s), just 0.01 shy of Roberts’ lifetime best set four years ago. Allen was second in a season’s best of 13.04.
Masterclasses from McLaughlin-Levrone and Mu
Training partners Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Athing Mu produced convincing victories over one and two laps of the track respectively.
Unlike at the Diamond League meeting in Paris where she went out hard for the first 300m and then struggled in the latter stages, McLaughlin-Levrone ran a more even-paced effort in New York. The world and Olympic 400m hurdles champion was level with Gabby Thomas at half way, reached in 23.7, but she then moved away from her opponents in the closing stages and crossed the line in a PB of 49.51.
Thomas, the Olympic 200m bronze medallist, held on for second place in 50.29.
Exactly 11 months since her last race, Mu got her 2023 campaign under way with a decisive display in the 800m.
The world and Olympic champion bided her time on the first lap, covering it in a comfortable 59.57 a few strides behind the pacemaker. She then started to open up her stride with 300 metres remaining, gradually moving away from the rest of the field.
She crossed the finish line in 1:58.73, two seconds ahead of her nearest opponent, Sage Hurta Klecker (2:00.77), with Allie Wilson a close third (2:00.80).
US indoor champion Aleia Hobbs notched up her fifth 100m victory this year, doing so with another sub-11-second clocking. She broke the tape in 10.98 to win from Jamaica’s Briana Williams (11.04) and 2022 US 100m champion Melissa Jefferson (11.06).
Gabby Thomas, contesting this race before turning her focus to the 400m, finished fifth in a season’s best of 11.08.
In other track action, Abby Steiner uncorked a season’s best of 22.19 to win the women’s 200m from Tamara Clark (22.43), while Jamaica’s Zandrion Barnes won the men’s 400m in 45.05.
Perez dominates discus
Cuba’s 2019 world champion Yaime Perez produced her best throw for two years to win the women’s discus.
Her opening throw of 67.44m stood up as the best of the day, and her series included three other throws that were better than Veronica Fraley’s runner-up effort of 63.51m, a PB.
Jamaica’s Traves Smikle won the men’s discus with 65.36m from Samoa’s Alex Rose (64.63m).
Maggie Ewen came out on top in a competitive women’s shot put contest, throwing 19.68m to beat Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd (19.38m) and world champion Chase Ealey (19.25m).
The men’s shot put was even closer as Payton Otterdahl threw 21.50m to win the men’s shot put by seven centimetres from Chukwu Enekwechi.
Elsewhere in field event action, Rudy Winkler maintained his good run of form to win the men’s hammer with 78.70m from fellow world and Olympic finalist Daniel Haugh (75.75m). Thea Lafond took the women’s triple jump with a wind-assisted 14.47m (2.8m/s) and Vashti Cunningham was a comfortable winner of the high jump, clearing 1.95m.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics