Bahamian sprinter Steven Gardiner (© AFP / Getty Images)
In just his second race of the year, world and Olympic 400m champion Steven Gardiner cruised to the fastest indoor 300m clocking in history, scorching a 31.56 clocking at the South Carolina Invitational in Columbia on Friday (28).
The Bahamian sprinter, who set a national record of 32.06 over the distance just two weeks ago, improved his best by half a second and in doing so also smashed the world indoor best of 31.87 that was set by Noah Lyles in 2017. Nathon Allen finished second in 32.54.
“I’m in awe and I’m proud of the strides I’m making this season,” Gardiner posted on social media after the race. “So much more to come in the next few months.”
Only seven men – including Usain Bolt, Michael Johnson and Wayde van Niekerk – have ever gone faster for 300m outdoors.
Another Olympic champion, 100m hurdles gold medallist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, won the women’s event, clocking 36.52 to improve on her own Puerto Rican record from two weeks ago.
Elsewhere, Aliyah Abrams won the 400m in 52.05 from Diamond League champion Quanera Hayes (52.31).
Two weeks after clocking a lifetime best of 7.86 in the 60m hurdles, Grace Stark showed similarly impressive speed on the flat at the Pollack Invitational in Clemson on Friday (28). The 20-year-old set a 60m PB of 7.12 in the semifinals then backed it up with 7.14 in the final.
Paula Salmon, another to have started the year in good form, continued her progress in the 60m hurdles, winning in 7.89. Jacory Patterson was the standout performer in the men’s track events, winning the 400m in 45.98.
Ja’Von Douglas took the men’s long jump with 8.08m, while 2014 world U20 champion Akela Inatta-Jones won the women’s event with 6.66m. In a close competition, Lorraine Ugen was second (6.62m) from Madisen Richards (6.59m) and Claire Bryant (6.57m).
Former world U20 record-holder Trey Cunningham produced the two fastest performances of his life at the Texas Tech Open in Lubbock on Friday (28).
The 22-year-old scorched to a 7.49 clocking in the prelims, then followed it up in the next round with a world-leading lifetime best of 7.46.
Another world lead came in the women’s pentathlon, which was won by Latvia’s Kristine Blazevica with 4402. Hope Bender was second with 4304.
Matthew Boling achieved another sprints-jumps double at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville on Friday (28). He took the 200m in a world-leading 20.27, then won the long jump with 8.05m.
Elsewhere in Fayetteville, Favour Ofili won the women’s 200m in 22.80 and Alysah Hickey set a meeting record of 6.66m in the long jump.
Over in Jamaica, five-time Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah opened her year with a 7.19 outdoor 60m into a -1.9m/s headwind at the Queen's/Grace Jackson Meet in Kingston. Last year she made her debut by clocking 7.65 (-3.0m/s). Remona Burchell was second in 7.29.
Success for Stanek at Hvezdy v Nehvizdech
World indoor shot put bronze medallist Tomas Stanek was among the winners at the Hvezdy v Nehvizdech, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting, on Sunday (30).
Throwing 20.91m on home soil, he triumphed over Norway's Marcus Thomsen, who had a best of 20.68m.
The women's competition was won by Germany's Sara Gambetta thanks to a PB throw of 18.90m. Canada's Sarah Mitton was second with a 18.65m throw and Germany's Katharina Maisch third with 18.56m.
A competitive men's high jump contest was won by Belgium's Thomas Carmoy on countback, as both he and Nauraj Singh Randhawa cleared 2.27m, a Malaysian indoor record for Randhawa. USA's JuVaughn Harrison was third on countback ahead of Majd Eddin Ghazal and Woo Sanghyeok, as they all cleared 2.23m.
Ukraine's Yuliya Chumachenko won the women's high jump competition ahead of Finland's Ella Junnila, with both athletes achieving 1.87m.