McLeod wins rain-hit Drake Re­lays

New Straits Times - - Sport -

CHICAGO: Reigning Olympic 110 me­tre hur­dles cham­pion Omar McLeod of Ja­maica ig­nored cold, wind and rain to run the fastest time in the world this year on Satur­day at the 108th Drake Re­lays.

McLeod de­fended his ti­tle in his spe­cialty with a meet-record 13.04 sec­onds at Des Moines, Iowa, as part of a se­ries of events dubbed Rio Re­matches af­ter last year’s Olympics in Brazil.

McLeod, aided by a 1.8m/sec tail­wind, jumped ahead at the start and surged again in the last 40 me­tres to de­feat Bri­tain’s An­drew Pozzi by .20 of a sec­ond and lower the meet mark he set last year by .04.

“The fo­cus was just to get out,” McLeod said. “Sea­son opener. I did not know where I was com­pet­i­tively. I knew I was train­ing con­sis­tently.

“It’s a great feel­ing. I’m kind of sur­prised at that time be­cause of the weather.”

Amer­i­can Aleec Har­ris was third in 13.37s with US 2012 Olympic cham­pion and world record-holder Aries Mer­ritt fourth in 13.44s.

An­other reigning Olympic cham­pion, Cana­dian high jumper Derek Drouin, won his spe­cialty with a clear­ance of 2.30m.

World 2017 bests were also set in the women’s 100m and 400m hur­dles, with Amer­i­can Ken­dra Har­ri­son win­ning the shorter race in 12.56s and com­pa­triot Ge­orgeanne Mo­line tak­ing the longer win in 54.66s.

“It tells me I’m ready to go,” Ken­dra said. “I ran the ex­act same time last year and I set the world record so I’m ready.”

Ken­dra, who set the world record of 12.20s last July at Lon­don, de­fended her Drake ti­tle to lead a US 100m hur­dles podium sweep with Jas­min Stow­ers sec­ond in 12.76s and 2008 Olympic cham­pion Dawn Harper-Nel­son third in 12.79s.

Ge­orgeanne won the 400m hur­dles by .06s over com­pa­triot Kori Carter with Ja­maica’s Leah Nu­gent in 55.94s. Amer­i­can Ash­ley Spencer, third in the Rio Olympics, fell af­ter she clipped a back­stretch hur­dle with her trail leg and did not finish.

Bri­tain’s Lor­raine Ugen won the women’s long jump by clear­ing 6.49m de­spite rain and cross­winds, edg­ing Nige­ria’s Esa Brume who cleared the same height.

Amer­i­can Brit­tney Reese, the 2012 Olympic cham­pion and 2016 run­ner-up, was third at 6.27m. She passed on her last four at­tempts in the poor con­di­tions.

Lor­raine was third at last year’s world in­doors and sec­ond in this year’s Euro­pean in­doors.

Rio Olympic bronze medal­list Clay­ton Mur­phy won the 1,500m in 3:41.75s while fel­low Amer­i­can Sam Ken­dricks, who also fin­ished third in Brazil last year, took the men’s pole vault with a 5.80m clear­ance.

LaShawn Mer­ritt, the 2008 Olympic 400m cham­pion, won the 400m in 45.41s to lead an Amer­i­can podium sweep Fri­day while Gre­nada’s Ki­rani James, the 2012 Olympic cham­pion and run­ner-up last year in Rio, was a dis­ap­point­ing sixth in 46.21s.

Two-time Olympic cham­pion Chris­tian Tay­lor won the triple jump on Fri­day with a leap of 16.93m while fel­low Amer­i­can Sandi Mor­ris won the pole vault by clear­ing 4.72 and St. Lu­cia’s Lav­ern Spencer took the women’s high jump at 1.91m. AFP

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