US sprinter Sydney McLaughlin (© Getty Images)
Sydney McLaughlin opened her 2018 outdoor campaign with an impressive sprint double on the first two days of the Florida Relays (29-30).
In the opening track event of the three-day competition, the 200m, McLaughlin blasted to a lifetime best of 22.39 to defeat a quality field. The 18-year-old’s previous outdoor PB of 23.53 dated back to 2016, but she clocked a wind-assisted 22.96 last year and improved to 22.68 indoors earlier this year.
McLaughlin’s 22.39 is the fastest time in the world by an U20 athlete since Allyson Felix’s 22.19 at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and puts McLaughlin fourth on the world U20 all-time list.
Joanna Atkins, a world indoor and outdoor 4x400m gold medallist, was second in 22.81. World 100m hurdles record-holder Kendra Harrison was given the same time, also a PB, in third. World 400m hurdles champion Kori Carter was fifth in 23.23.
One day later, but now having to compete in the rain, the 2015 world U18 400m hurdles champion returned to the track for the 400m. Once again, she ran a controlled race to win by a comfortable margin, stopping the clock at 50.07 to set another big PB. Sharrika Barnett was second in a PB of 50.93.
Not only did she break Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s stadium record of 50.17 and Francena McCorory’s meeting record of 50.23, she also moved to sixth on the world U20 all-time list.
.@GoSydGo 5⃣0⃣.0⃣7⃣ - 🌎leading 400m in a rainy outdoor opener at #FLRelays18.— UK Track & Field (@KentuckyTrack) March 30, 2018
• Only Courtney Okolo has run a faster 400m time (twice) during the collegiate season (via @USTFCCCA )
Video via SECN+ https://t.co/KsSei3A0h7 pic.twitter.com/NZ5fBAigh3
“I felt good,” said McLaughlin, who set a world indoor U20 300m best and a world indoor U20 400m record during the indoor season. “I’m just shaking the rust off. There are a lot of technical things I need to fix, but this is just prep for the 400m hurdles. It’s great to be able to come out and set a PR in my first race like that. It’s a good indication of how the rest of the season is going to go.”
Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, the 2016 NCAA champion, won the 100m hurdles in 12.77 (-0.8m/s) after clocking a wind-assisted 22.59 (3.0m/s) in the 200m.
World 400m silver medallist Steven Gardiner came within 0.04 of the Bahamian record in the 200m, setting a big PB of 20.20 (2.0m/s). World and Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod was second in 20.49 and then went on to win the 100m one day later in 10.32.
Christian Taylor was another world and Olympic champion who dabbled in a non-specialist event. The triple jumper lined up for his first 400m race in four years and finished a close second to Alonzo Russell, 45.44 to 45.48.
Elsewhere, Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 13.45 and Grenada’s Anderson Peters threw 81.57m to win the javelin.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF