McLeod wins rain-hit Drake Relays
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