The track and field championships in the US and Jamaica witnessed an intense rivalry as athletes vied for world leads in the shorter sprints. Within a span of 48 hours, six world leads (WL) were established across the women’s 100m, 200m, and the men’s 110m hurdles.
Gabby Thomas reclaimed her world lead by setting a new personal best (pB) with a time of 21.60, just an hour after Shericka Jackson sprinted to victory in the Jamaican Championships with a time of 21.71.
During the semifinals on Saturday, Thomas had already recorded a world-leading time of 21.86, only to be outdone by Jackson’s impressive performance of 21.71.
A similar scenario unfolded in the women’s 100m, where Sha’Carri Richardson initially set a personal best and a world lead of 10.71, only to have it surpassed by Jackson’s remarkable time of 10.65 during the Jamaican trials.
Despite Richardson posting the fastest time in the preliminary rounds with a windy 21.67 (+2.6), she finished second in the final with a time of 21.94. Kayla White demonstrated a strong finish in the last 40 meters, securing her third-place qualification with a time of 22.01.
Thomas, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant, missed her chance to compete for a world title in 2022 due to a nagging hamstring injury. Expressing her determination, Thomas said, “Last year being injured was really heartbreaking for me, so I was really ready this year and really wanted it more than, I think, anyone.”
In the men’s competition, despite the absence of world leader Noah Lyles, Erriyon Knighton showcased his prowess by winning his first senior title with a time of 19.72. Kenneth Bednarek, the world and Olympic runner-up, finished as the runner-up once again with a time of 19.82, narrowly edging out NCAA 100m champion Courtney Lindsey, who secured third place with a time of 19.85.
In a month’s time, Lyles will join them, having led the American sweep of the podium in Eugene. Knighton expressed confidence in the team, stating, “We got us a good squad going over there; We gonna try to make the same thing happen as last year and get the sweep.”
In the men’s 110m hurdles, Cordell Tinch‘s inspiring journey from being a cell-phone salesman in GreenBay, Wisconsin, to pursuing his dream of world-class hurdling, culminated in him qualifying for his first World Championship team. He finished behind Daniel Roberts with a time of 13.05-13.08. Freddie Crittenden claimed third place with a time of 13.23.
However, Tinch’s world lead of 12.96 was broken by Jamaica’s Rasheed Broadbell, who asserted his arrival to world athletics stardom with a winning time of 12.94 in his national championships, defeating Hansle Parchment (13.12) and Orlando Bennett (13.13).