Get up, stand up: McLeod strikes gold for Ja­maica

Olympic cham­pion hur­dler gives coun­try first win­ner at world cham­pi­onships.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — The tune blar­ing across the sta­dium sound sys­tem was un­mis­tak­able: “Jam­ming” by Bob Mar­ley. The flag the win­ner pa­raded around the track was fa­mil­iar too: the black, green and gold cross of Ja­maica.

That 110-me­ter hur­dler Omar McLeod was at the cen­ter of the cel­e­bra­tion Monday wasn’t all that big a sur­prise.

That McLeod was the first from the is­land to do the hon­ors at this year’s world cham­pi­onships still feels like some­thing of a shock.

The 23-year-old from Kingston did what Usain Bolt and Elaine Thomp­son could not the pre­vi­ous two nights in the 100 me­ters — namely, pow­ered to­ward the fin­ish line and left the field be­hind to bring a gold medal home to a coun­try that has come to ex­pect noth­ing less.

“I took it upon my­self to reroute that and bring that spark back,” said McLeod, an Olympic cham­pion last sum­mer.

McLeod won in 13.04 sec­onds, while the world-record holder, Amer­i­can Aries Mer­ritt, fin­ished fifth.

It marked the first dis­ap­point­ment of the meet for the U.S. on a straight­away where Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie won gold in the 100 and Chris­tian Cole­man fin­ished sec­ond to Gatlin and one spot ahead of Bolt.

The U.S. was shut out of the medals in the 110 hur­dles for the first time since the world cham­pi­onships were first con­tested in 1983.

“Every­one in the hur­dling game is hur­dling well,” said Mer­ritt, who was com­pet­ing in his first ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion since a kid­ney trans­plant af­ter the 2015 worlds. “The event is much deeper than it has been in a long time.”

Sergey Shubenkov of Rus­sia fin­ished .1 of a sec­ond be­hind McLeod for the sil­ver medal, though that prize will go in no­body’s col­umn.

Shubenkov came in as the de­fend­ing world cham­pion but was not able to com­pete at the Olympics last year be­cause of the dop­ing scan­dal that has en­gulfed his coun­try.

He is one of 19 Rus­sians cleared to com­pete in Lon­don this year, his anti-dop­ing reg­i­men judged to be ro­bust enough to re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion.

But with Rus­sia’s track fed­er­a­tion still sus­pended, all 19 of the Rus­sians are com­pet­ing as neu­tral ath­letes.

They wear aqua, red and pink uni­forms with no hint of the Rus­sian f lag or any other Rus­sian sym­bol.

Other gold medal­ists Monday were Venezuela’s Yuli­mar Ro­jas in the triple jump and Poland’s Anita Wlo­dar­czyk in the ham­mer throw.

Kenya’s Faith Kipye­gon won the 1,500 me­ters, while Caster Se­menya of South Africa moved from fifth to third over the last 50 me­ters to cap­ture the bronze.

The IAAF is look­ing to re­in­state an over­turned ban on Se­menya, claim­ing her higher-than-nor­mal testos­terone lev­els give her an un­fair ad­van­tage over the other women.

Matthias Hangst Getty Images

OMAR McLEOD cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the 110me­ter hurldes at the world cham­pi­onships.

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