Jamaican Olympian Shericka Jackson wins sprint showdown

Italy Athletics Golden Gala
Shericka Jackson of Jamaica smiles after winning the women’s 200-meter competition at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting in Rome, Thursday, June 9, 2022.
Associated Press/Andrew Medichini

Jamaican Olympian Shericka Jackson secured the spotlight in a superb 200m showdown, while Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli stormed his way up the world 5000m all-time list on an evening of top-class action at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Rome on Thursday, according to World Athletics.

“The earlier storm had passed and blue skies returned in time for the meeting, leaving it down to the athletes to produce the sparks and prompt thunderous support at the Stadio Olimpico for the fifth meeting in this season’s Wanda Diamond League series,” World Athletics said.

In a field featuring four reigning global champions, it was Jamaica’s Olympic 100m bronze medalist Jackson who triumphed above them all in the women’s 200m, World Athletics said.

“Blasting out of the blocks, the versatile sprint talent surged off the final bend and couldn’t be caught, setting a meeting record of 21.91 (1.3m/s) — her third-quickest ever time behind her 21.81 PB set in Zurich last year,” World Athletics said.

Becoming the first athlete to break 22 seconds in the event at this meeting, it said the 27-year-old — who also has world and Olympic 400m medals to her name — “blazed away” ahead of her five-time Olympic champion compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah (22.25), Britain’s world champion Dina Asher-Smith (22.27) and two-time Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo (22.48).

“I just wanted to come out and run a strong race; so. I think I did pretty good,” Jackson, who will soon race for World Championships places at the Jamaican Championships, told World Athletics. “The thing is, when it comes to Jamaican trials or major championships, I try not to have a different mindset than when I am at a Diamond League meeting or a development meet. Anything could happen on the day, so I just focus on coming out and performing at my best.

“After the trials, and if everything goes well, my aim is to add a gold medal to my name,” she added. “I have many individual medals at 400m and 100m, but I need to get that gold medal in any event that might be.”

Similarly in the men’s 5000m, Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli might have been up against multiple global gold medalists, but he, too, “left them all for dust”, surging to seventh on the world all-time list with a world-leading 12:46.33 to break the meeting record that had been set by Eliud Kipchoge back in 2004, World Athletics said.

Running behind Ethiopia’s two-time world indoor 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha through 3000m in 7:41.50 and 4000m in 10:15.10, it said Kimeli —who narrowly missed out on Olympic 5000m bronze in Tokyo – went on to battle with his compatriot Jacob Krop and edged to victory.

World Athletics said Krop was right behind him in 12:46.79, a time that puts him joint ninth on the world all-time list with Kejelcha, who this time ran 12:52.10 for third.

It said Ethiopia’s Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega finished fourth (12:54.87) and Canada’s Olympic silver medallist Mohammed Ahmed fifth (12:55.84) as the top eight all dipped under 13 minutes.

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