Men’s 100m event at the Rabat Diamond League meet, despite the absence of Italian Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs due to back problems, lived up to its billing and generated significant hype.
The race featured reigning World Champion Fred Kerley, the Kenyan World Leader for 2023 Ferdinand Omanyala, as well as notable competitors Bromell, Yohan Blake (still the second fastest man ever), and the promising prodigy Tebogo.
During a press conference earlier this week, Omanyala, who clocked 9.84 at home in Nairobi this year, expressed confidence in winning both in Eugene and Budapest.
Kerley, who was eager to prove himself, had to settle for briefly humbling his East African rival.
The race saw Simbine off to an ideal start, while Kerley initially struggled. However, the 6’3″ Kerley gradually closed the gap on his opponents, overtaking Omanyala in a compelling finish. Kerley’s momentum propelled him to cross the line in first place with a time of 9.94, pulling South African Akani Simbine to another sub-10 finish of 9.99. Omanyala secured third place with a time of 10.05. Tebogo followed closely in fourth place with a time of 10.09, narrowly edging out Bromell’s 10.10 effort. Blake finished sixth in 10.18.
Meanwhile, there is still no confirmation on the status of Jacobs for the upcoming Florence, Italy Diamond League meeting scheduled for June 2nd, despite his absence from the race on Sunday.
Apart from the men’s 100m event, Jamaican athletes also made an impressive showing in Rabat.
Shericka Jackson, the fastest woman not named Florence Griffith Joyner, dominated the women’s 200m. Although it took her around 130m, Jackson eventually broke away from American sprinter Tamari Davis and powered through the last meters to claim victory with a time of 21.98. Davis faded to third place in 22.30, while Bahamian Anthonique Stratchan secured second place with a time of 22.15.
In the men’s 110m hurdles, 2-time World Champion Grant Holloway faced a similar fate as he was overtaken by Rasheed Broadbell, representing Jamaica, at around the 80m mark. Broadbell leaned ahead of Holloway at the finish line, denying Holloway another runaway victory, with the final times being 13.08 and 13.12, respectively. This situation mirrors Holloway’s experience at the Tokyo Olympics, where Hansle Parchment also overtook him. Parchment finished third in this race, with a time of 13.24.
Jamaican athlete Shanieka Ricketts, a two-time world champion in the women’s triple jump, secured third place with a jump of 14.53. She was bested by Cuban athlete Leyanis Perez, who won the event with a personal best and world-leading jump of 14.84, and Ukrainian jumper Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, who recorded a jump of 14.65.
Dominican athlete Thea LaFond finished in sixth place with a jump of 14.18m, while Kimberly Williams placed ninth with a jump of 13.04m.
In the women’s 400m hurdles, Shamir Little claimed victory with a time of 53.95, with three Jamaican athletes following closely behind. Rushell Clayton finished in second place with a time of 54.14, Shiwnn Salmon secured third place with a time of 55.42, and Janieve Russell finished in fourth place with a time of 55.41.
Natoya Goule represented Jamaica in the Women’s 800m and finished in fourth place with a time of 2:00.91.