Report12 May 2024

Ta Lou-Smith among athletes to shine at Jamaica Athletics Invitational


Sprinter Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith (© AFP / Getty Images)

On her first visit to Jamaica, Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith produced a scintillating run to win the women’s 100m in 10.91 (1.1m/s) at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational Meet, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver event, on Saturday (11).

Ta Lou-Smith, making her individual season debut, moved to third on this season’s world list. She got a decent start and went into overdrive at the halfway stage before going on to claim a clear win. 

“To open my season with 10.91 is great,” said Ta Lou-Smith. “I was thrilled to see the crowd, and hearing the applause when my name was called was incredible.”

Jamaica’s Krystal Sloley, in a display of her vast improvement, clocked a personal best of 11.09 to secure the runner-up position ahead of compatriot Kemba Nelson (11.12). 

Despite a faulty start and a subsequent false start, the men’s 100m was a nail-biting encounter between world indoor 60m bronze medallist Ackeem Blake and Julian Forte, resulting in a photo finish. Both men clocked 10.02 (0.8m/s), with Forte being declared the winner after photo analysis. Brandon Hicklin, one of three men to have dipped under 10 seconds this season, finished third in 10.09.

In their first meeting since their epic showdown at the World Championships in Budapest, European 400m record-holder and world silver medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith took revenge on world champion Antonio Watson. The race was almost a repeat of the world final, with Hudson-Smith running a strong 350m and Watson cruising as if he was in energy-saving mode. Unlike last year, Hudson-Smith managed to maintain his lead and crossed the finish line in 44.69. Matthew Boling came in second in 44.98, while Watson finished in fourth place with 45.61.

A few minutes later, Dina Asher-Smith showed steely resolve to repel the challenge of the fast-finishing Jessika Gbai, 22.51 to 22.53, in an entertaining women’s 200m.  

Coming off the curve, Asher-Smith looked in command but began to tire as Gbai made up considerable ground in the final 50 metres. However, the finish line came at the right time for Asher-Smith, competing for the first time in Jamaica.

“My execution was not good,” Asher-Smith said with a wry smile. “When I crossed the line, I said: ‘I will be in trouble’. My start could have been much better, and I could have cut the bend a little better. The intensity was good, and my finish could have been better, but it was all right. Nevertheless, I am in a good place, and there’s plenty to work on.”   

In the men’s 200m, Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes produced an energetic run to register his first sub-20-second mark this season. Hughes, who easily outpaced US duo Christian Coleman and Fred Kerley in the home straight, was satisfied with his effort of 19.96 (1.1m/s).

“I think it was a good race,” said Hughes. “To run sub-20 so early in the season is a bonus for me. I’ve never run this fast so early; last year, my 19-point came in July at the London Diamond League.”

Kerley was second in 20.17, just ahead of Pablo Mateo of France in 20.20.

Tobi Amusan, the world record-holder in the women's 100m hurdles, was the fastest over the barriers, setting a world-leading time of 12.40 (0.9m/s). Danielle Williams, a two-time world champion, was ahead for most of the race but lost her rhythm over the final two hurdles and finished second with 12.46.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been. It’s a pain-free season compared to other years,” said Amusan. “I told myself: ‘I’m not getting a DQ today’. I’m not the best of starters, but looking at how I executed today, it could have been better, but I am thankful for the win.”

World bronze medallist Rushell Clayton held her nerves to fend off a stern challenge from Anna Cockrell in an enthralling 400m hurdles. Clayton won in a world-leading 53.72, with Cockrell 0.04 adrift. 

Jamaica’s Malik James-King caused a major upset in the men’s 400m hurdles. Kyron McMaster, who won the silver medal at the Budapest World Championships, had taken a commanding lead in the first 300m, and it seemed like he would win comfortably. However, James-King had other plans and started to close in. By the ninth hurdle, James-King was level with McMaster before pulling away to win in a lifetime best of 48.39. McMaster finished second in 49.00, while Jaheel Hyde came third in 49.48.

The charismatic Jaydon Hibbert, the world U20 record-holder and 14th-best jumper of all time, cut the sand at 17.57m (-1.3m/s) in the second round to wrap up the men’s triple jump contest. 

Traves Smikle won the men’s discus with a throw of 66.89m ahead of Fedrick Dacres' 65.94m.

Jamaica's Raymond Richards won the men’s high jump by clearing 2.24m on his first attempt. 

Noel Francis for World Athletics

Orogot, Pryce and Morales Williams impress at SEC Championships

At the Southeastern Conference Championships in Gainesville, Florida, Tarsis Orogot improved his Ugandan record to 19.75 (1.0m/s) to win the 200m. The 21-year-old, who was fifth in the 100m in a PB of 10.06, finished clear in the longer event, winning ahead of Wanya McCoy of The Bahamas in a PB of 19.93.

The 100m was won by Nigeria’s Godson Oghenebrume in 9.99 (0.6m/s).

In the women’s 100m final, Jamaica’s world U20 200m champion Brianna Lyston achieved the first wind-legal sub-11.00 performance of her career, clocking 10.91 (0.3m/s) to win ahead of USA’s Kaila Jackson, also with a PB of 10.95.

Lyston was also fourth (22.37) in a 200m final won by USA’s Mckenzie Long in 22.03 ahead of her compatriots JaMeesia Ford (22.11) and Thelma Davies (22.17).

In a fast 400m final, Arkansas’ Nickisha Pryce held off her teammates Kaylin Brown and Amber Anning as they all dipped under 50 seconds, Pryce winning in 49.32 from Brown’s 49.47 and Anning’s 49.51 – all PBs. A total of four women went sub-49.8, with Aaliyah Butler finishing fourth in a lifetime best of 49.79.

The men’s 400m was won by Christopher Morales Williams as he ran a big PB of 44.05 to improve the Canadian record and set a world lead. Nigeria’s 17-year-old Samuel Ogazi was second in 44.58

World U20 400m hurdles bronze medallist Michaela Rose improved her own meeting record to 1:58.89 to win the 800m.


Elsewhere in Florida, USA’s Kendal Williams clocked a PB of 9.93 (2.0m/s) to match the fastest men’s 100m time in the world so far this year, racing at the PURE Athletics Sprint Elite Meet in Clermont. 

Tamara Clark completed a women’s sprint double, winning the 100m in 10.98 (1.9m/s) and the 200m in 22.32 (1.3m/s). Josephus Lyles took the men’s 200m in a wind-assisted 20.05 (2.6m/s).

France’s 2022 world indoor 60m hurdles champion Cyrena Samba-Mayela stormed to a 100m hurdles win in a wind-assisted 12.44 (3.2m/s) after a wind-legal 12.52 (1.9m/s) to improve her national record in the heats.

Jacob Fincham Dukes soared a windy 8.30m (2.6m/s) to win the long jump.

Rose throws area record, Gill runs European U18 best

At the GVSU 10 Event Last Chance Meet in Allendale, Michigan, Samoa's Alex Rose improved the Oceanian discus record to 71.48m - adding more than a metre to his previous best. He now sits 11th on the world all-time list.


Over at the Belfast Irish Milers Meet, Great Britain’s Phoebe Gill won the 800m in 1:57.86. With that performance, the 17-year-old set a European U18 best and moved to second on the world U18 all-time list behind China's Wang Yuan. It also put her joint second on this season's senior top list.


At the Throws U 2024 Series meeting in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, world indoor champion Sarah Mitton improved her Canadian shot put record to a world-leading 20.68m, adding 35cm to her previous best.

The Sound Running Track Fest in Los Angeles saw double Olympic champion Sifan Hassan solo run her way to a 5000m win in 14:58.83 in her first race since finishing fourth in the Tokyo Marathon at the start of March.

Nikki Hiltz won the 800m from Emily Mackay - 2:00.46 to 2:00.85. Luis Grijalva achieved a 1500m and 5000m double, winning ‘final 2’ of the shorter event in 3:38.20 and then returning to take the 5000m in 13:16.53. 

In her first steeplechase in more than a year following injury, Valerie Constien won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:27.22.


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