Caribbean athletes show form at Diamond League
Damar Forbes produced a season’s best, Machel Cedenio and Bralon Taplin both ran personal bests, but World Indoor champion Omar McLeod suffered his first loss of the season in dramatic fashion at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco Friday.
Forbes, the 2016 Jamaican champion, showed the kind of form he will need to be in contention for a medal in Rio in less than a month when he took the long jump in 8.23 metres.
He led from his opening jump of 8.08m and followed up with 8.06, before exploding to his best jump this season to seal the win. France’s Fabrice Lapierre (8.21m) and China’s Gao Xinglang, who jumped out to an even 8 metres were second and third.
Cedenio ran 44.34, while Grenada’s Taplin, 44.38, finished second and third respectively in the 400 metres behind the imperious 2015 World champion Wayde van Niekerk.
For the South African it was the perfect birthday present. From the gun, he was in complete control of the race and pulled away down the home stretch to win in 44.12, just one hundredth of a second outside his season’s best of 44.11.
Veronica Campbell-Brown rebounded from a relatively indifferent performance at the Jamaican national championships two weeks ago to finish second in the 100m in 11.12 to Dutch woman Dafne Schippers, who delivered another strong run to win in 10.94s and send a clear message that she will be in the hunt for gold medals in Rio.
Kimberly Williams was third in the triple jump with her best jump of 14.47, while Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen once again proved to be too strong for the field, leaping out to a winning distance of 14.96m.
Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas was second with 14.64m.
McLeod, the 2016 World Indoor champion, has been dominant all season long but suffered his first loss of the season.
Sandwiched between Frenchmen Dimirti Bascou and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, like he was in Eugene in February when he won the world indoor title, McLeod, on this occasion, was off to a poor start and struggled to find his rhythm before crashing to the floor late in the race.
Spain’s Orlando Ortega won in a season’s best 13.04s.
“I feel super happy about my season best today,” the Cuba-born Spaniard said.