Report07 Apr 2013

Freeman’s breakthrough and Hoffa’s world lead highlight Florida Relays


American sprinter Octavious Freeman (© Getty Images)

The outdoor track and field season has only just begun, but a handful of USA’s top athletes were in impressive form this weekend (4-6) at the Florida Relays in Gainesville.

Admittedly extremely early in the season, five world-leading marks were set with Octavious Freeman’s performance in the women’s 100m being the most notable.

The 20-year-old sped to a lifetime best of 11.02 (1.2m/s) to win by almost four metres over a field that included 2011 NCAA champion Candyce McGrone and 2008 World indoor bronze medallist Tahesia Harrigan.

Freeman, the fastest junior in the world over 100m in 2010, followed up her 100m victory with a win in the 200m in 22.85 (1.8m/s), 0.04 ahead of World indoor 400m bronze medallist Natasha Hastings.

Reese Hoffa, the 2007 World champion, increased his own world-leading mark in the Shot with 21.33m. It was his only throw over 21 metres, but all four of his valid attempts would have been enough to win.

There was also a World best set in the rarely-run 4x100m Hurdles shuttle relay. A US team comprising Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Yvette Lewis and Queen Harrison clocked 50.78, which on average equates to less than 12.70 for each leg.

The stadium record was broken in the women’s 4x400m relay. Moushami Robinson, Novlene Williams-Mills, DeeDee Trotter and Natasha Hastings teamed up to triumph in 3:24.58, winning by almost three seconds over Florida’s ‘A’ team.

Elsewhere, Bryshon Nellum won the 400m in 45.54, Johnny Dutch also topped the world lists with his 49.09 in the 400m Hurdles and former US record-holder David Oliver opened his season with a win in the 110m Hurdles in 13.48 (1.0m/s).

Fellow sprint hurdler Jason Richardson was marginally faster at the Rafer Johnson Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational in Westwood, California. The World champion recorded a winning time of 13.47 (1.5m/s) in his first outdoor race of the year.

At the same meeting, Australia’s Julian Wruck extended his own world-leading mark and Oceania under-23 best in the Discus with 66.05m. Four of his other throws in his consistent series were in excess of 65 metres. Jamaica’s Natoya Goule also topped the world lists, winning the 800m in 2:01.18.

Having already set big PBs in the Shot and Javelin this year, World record-holder and Olympic Decathlon champion Ashton Eaton was once again in top form at the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational in Santa Barbera, California.

He contested just four of the 10 events, setting a PB in the 400m (45.64), then following it with performances of 15.02m in the Shot, 13.64 in the 110m Hurdles and 45.27m in the Discus.

Elsewhere in the US, Christabel Nettey of Canada jumped a world lead of 6.75m in the Long Jump and Jessica Cosby threw 73.00m in the Hammer at the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Arizona. On the same day and in the same state, 2009 World youth 100m Hurdles silver medallist Kori Carter posted a world-leading time of 54.71 in the 400m Hurdles at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, smashing her PB by more than two seconds to defeat Olympic finalist Georganne Moline (54.98).

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF