Jamaican Omar McLeod, right, hurdles his way to victory in the men's 60m obstacle at the Millrose Games in New York on 11 Feb 2017....Photo by Rob Lombardo

NEW YORK, NY – The near capacity crowd streamed out of the New Balance Track & Field Centre in Manhattan, New York fully satisfied with the performances witnessed at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on 11 February.

The Caribbean was well represented in a number of events getting contrasting results. Two athletes, in Jamaican Omar Mcleod and Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, stood out with impressive victories in their respective events on the day to lift the spirits of the many Caribbean supporters on hand.

McLeod sped to the second fastest time in the world this year over the 60m hurdles. His 7.46 seconds clocking replicated his winning time here last year. McLeod, who looked out of class, got to the first hurdle before anyone else and thereafter executed an almost flawless race. He soundly beat American runner up Aleec Harris, who couldn’t live with the Jamaican’s speed, by one tenth of a second.

McLeod from Millrose Games
Jamaican Omar McLeod, right, hurdles his way to victory in the men’s 60m obstacle at the Millrose Games in New York on 11 Feb 2017….Photo by Rob Lombardo

An ebullient McLeod said afterwards, “The race was great, last year I opened with 7.58 and now 7.46 here. This might be my only race indoors and I’m kind of sad now that I’ve opened with this time and I don’t have anymore indoor races to continue this momentum and get to 7.3, the good thing is that I’m in great shape and most importantly healthy.”

Minutes earlier, three Jamaicans had featured in the women’s 60m hurdles. Leah Nugent, a finalist in the 400m hurdles in Rio, was the best placed of the trio getting third in 8.02 seconds behind winner Phylicia George (CAN) 7.98 and Sharika Nelvis (USA) 8.01 in a tight finish, after leading right up until the last few strides.

Nugent, who came into the race as the 8th fastest in the world this year, despite being a little disappointed with the time, was still upbeat about the season thus far and outlined her ambitions. “My season has been going pretty great, I had personal bests in all my races so far this season, this race was the exception. I ran my PB 7.96 in this event two weeks ago, I even ran 52.6 in an open 400m, I’m just trying to stay race sharp as I plan to do both the 100mh and 400mh.” The other two Jamaicans Shanice Grant (8.17) and Janice Jackson (8.51) finished 6th and 8th respectively.

Miller-Uibo, who married Estonian decathlete Maicel Uibo on Feb 4, told inquisitive reporters she postponed her honeymoon to prepare for this race (300m) chopped four tenths of a second off her own meeting record set in 2014. The new mark of 35.71 was achieved with a commanding run, which saw Miller-Uibo obliterate the field within the first 50m.

She is looking ahead to another fantastic season. “Expect a whole lot of things from me this year, training has been going pretty well and I’m really excited. This race was a nice way to have some fun and get away from practice.”

Trinidadian Lalonde Gordon, who had decent form coming into this meet, had an indifferent outing in the men’s 500m. Gordon, who looked out of sorts during the race, felt his legs betrayed his mind and the rest of his body. “Nothing went well for me, this was practice. I decided I was going to do this and fill up a lane, my legs didn’t have it in me tonight, I tried but it never happened.” Gordon finished last in the five-man event in 1:05.89.

Another Caribbean athlete, Kemoy Campbell, also chased the pack around the track in his event. He finished 13th in the men’s 3000m in 8:06.76.

USA girl, Dezerea Bryant, produced a bullet start and, led from gun to tape in the women’s 60m winning in 7.12 seconds, equalling her personal best. Jamaica’s Remona Burchell was fifth in 7.28 just ahead of a shell-shocked Tianna Bartoletta of the U.S.A in 7.30 seconds.

There was also an upset in the men’s 60m dash. Clayton Vaughn held off a fast finishing Mike Rodgers as both USA men were accredited with the same time of 6.62 seconds. A surprised Vaughn was satisfied with the win. “It was a pretty good and decent run, I’m not as sharp as I want to be right now, so I just held my composure and got the win.”

Elsewhere, American Ajee Wilson, won the women’s 800m for the fourth consecutive year breaking several records in one fell swoop. Her winning time of 1:58.27 was à world lead, meeting and American record.

The Paavo Nurmi 2-mile race lived up to all expectations. In a stirring home straight battle Ben True came through to pip his front running USA teammate, Ryan Hill metres from the finish line in 8:11.33 to Hill’s 8:11.56.


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