Fri | Sep 29, 2023

Clayton, McLeod, Blake hunt wins in Diamond League

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 12:18 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Rushell Clayton
Rushell Clayton

After a solid performance in Morocco, 2019 world championship 400 metres hurdles bronze medallist Rushell Clayton will look to maintain her consistency in a strong field at today’s Diamond League meet in Florence, Italy.

Clayton headlines a small Jamaican contingent participating in the third Diamond League meet of the season which features her facing off against American Shamier Little for the second straight meet as well as World Championships silver medallist and the fastest woman in the world in the event this year, Femke Bol of the Netherlands.

Clayton finished second behind Little in their last meeting in Rabat in a season’s best 54.15 seconds, with her compatriots Shiann Salmon and Janieve Russell coming in third and fourth, respectively, also in the season’s best times. Little’s winning time of 53.95 was a season’s best but she will have to contend with Bol who will be making her Diamond League season debut. Bol opened her outdoor season on May 27 in Belgium with a storming 53.12.

World Championships and Olympic 4x400m medallist Candice McLeod will contest the women’s 400m in her second Diamond League meet of the season. McLeod’s Diamond League season opener saw her finish fifth in Qatar in 52.43, a meet in which she had said she was not feeling well in the build-up. McLeod finished second at the recent JAAA Budapest Quest meet in Kingston clocking 52.26.

Former world 100m champion Yohan Blake is the final Jamaican representative at the meet. He will line up in the men’s 100m facing reigning world champion, American Fred Kerley, for the second time in as many meetings, as well as Akani Simbine of South Africa and Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala. Blake finished sixth in Morocco in a season’s best effort of 10.18 while Kerley won in Morocco in a meet record 9.94 seconds. It was the meet that was expected to feature a showdown between Kerley and Olympic champion Lamont Jacobs; however, Jacobs pulled out of the meet because of an injury.