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News23 May 2017

De Grasse leads field of eight sub-10 men in Eugene 100m – IAAF Diamond League


The men's 100m in Eugene (© Getty Images)

Eight men with sub-10-second lifetime bests will line up for the start of the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on 27 May, the third stop of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League series.

Each 100m race at the meeting since 2011 has been clocked at 9.90 or faster, making it one of the showcase sprint events on the annual athletics calendar.

This year's features a showdown between a pair of Olympic sprint podium finishers, triple medallist Andre de Grasse of Canada and Justin Gatlin of the US, the 100m silver medallist.

De Grasse, 22, carved out a piece of Canadian Olympic history with a silver/bronze combination in the 200m/100m in Rio with impressive PBs in both events – 9.91 in the 100m and 19.80 in the 200m. His all-conditions bests still stagger Eugene fans, especially when as a USC sprinter he won double NCAA titles in 2015 with wind-aided efforts of 9.75 and 19.58, among the fastest in Hayward Field history (the 19.58 200m is the fastest under any conditions at Hayward Field).

De Grasse’s individual performances may be trailing his effect on relay teams. In Rio, he anchored Canada to bronze, the country’s only Olympic medal in that event besides the gold won in 1996. In April, he anchored Canada’s world-leading 4x100m team in 38.15 at the Florida Relays and ran third leg on his nation’s 4x200 squad to win the IAAF World Relays in Nassau later in the month. It was the second straight year the De Grasse-led team won the World Relays 4x200m with a world-leading time.

After opening his season with 10.21 in Doha on 5 May, he was second in Baie-Mahault 12 days later clocking 10.10 and more recently won the 200m in Kingston on 20 May, in 20.14.

Gatlin meanwhile has collected five Pre Classic wins and three Diamond Trophies in this event, the most by any athlete in both categories. The 2004 Olympic champion will be looking to shake off a modest start to his season, which includes a fourth-place finish in Doha in 10.14 and a 10.28 victory in Kawasaki on Sunday.

The field also includes rising US star Ronnie Baker, who has twice improved his PB this season, first to 9.99 and more recently to 9.98 in Kingston last Saturday.

Ben Youssef Meite, 30, joins Gatlin and De Grasse as another Olympic finalist. After winning the African Championships for the first time in 2010, he repeated last year and became Ivory Coast's first Olympic finalist – both with sub-10 performances.

Great Britain’s Adam Gemili was fourth in the Olympic 200m final, just a whisker behind the bronze medalist with the same time. Gemili is the 2012 world U20 100m champion and has a 9.97 lifetime best. Chijindu Ujah, also from Great Britain, was the European junior champion in 2013 and has run 9.96.

Rounding out the field are Mike Rodgers and Su Bingtian. Rodgers is the only US runner to clock sub-10 each year since 2009, when he won the Pre Classic in a then-PB 9.94. The 2014 US champion’s fastest times have come at the Pre Classic – 9.85 in 2011 and a wind-aided 9.80 in 2014.

Su, 27, finished third in the 2015 Pre Classic when he became the first Chinese sprinter to break 10 seconds, clocking 9.99. He equalled that performance in the semi-finals at the 2015 World Championships to qualify for the final. He later ran the third leg on the silver medal-winning 4x100m team in Beijing as well as last year’s quartet that finished fourth in Rio, China’s highest finish in the Olympics. In a non-scoring race, Su clocked a season's best 10.09 to win in Shanghai on 13 May.

Bob Ramsak and organisers for the IAAF

2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar:
5 May – Doha, QAT
13 May – Shanghai, CHN
27 May – Eugene, USA
8 Jun – Rome, ITA
15 Jun – Oslo, NOR
18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
1 Jul – Paris, FRA
6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
9 Jul – London, GBR
16 Jul – Rabat, MAR
21 Jul – Monaco, MON
20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
24 Aug – Zurich, SUI
1 Sep – Brussels, BEL