For the second time in little over a month, T&T’s sole reigning Olympic gold medalist Keshorn Walcott broke his national record in men’s javelin by nearly half a metre with a second placed finish in the penultimate leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland, yesterday.
Walcott threw the spear 85.77m on his first attempt, which was 0.49m greater than the effort in the Commonwealth Games javelin qualifying event late last month. The 21-year-old, who took the world by storm in 2012 after becoming the youngest javelin gold medallist at the Olympic Games and the first from the region, was beaten by number-one ranked Diamond League thrower Thomas Rohler of Germany. Rohler also threw his best mark, 87.63m, on the first attempt.
Walcott was unsuccessful on his second throw but landed 81.11m, 77.38m and 83.99m on his subsequent three attempts.
Finishing third was Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki (85.12m).
T&T athlete, Richard Thompson, was also in action yesterday in the men’s 100m. He placed seventh in 10.26 seconds. Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole claimed a season best 9.96 to win the race, while Michael Rodgers (USA) and James Dasaolu (Britain) finished second and third in 10.05 and 10.06 seconds, respectively. Thompson is one of only two T&T athletes to have won a leg in the Diamond League this year.
He opened his account with a 10.02 finish in the first leg in Oslo, which was the fastest time. Michelle-Lee Ahye won the women’s 100m event in Lausanne (10.98) and Glasgow (11.01).
Jamaica then claimed the 100m double, with Veronica Campbell-Brown stealing the women’s race in 11.04 seconds in a photo finish edging of Ivory Coast superstar Murielle Ahoure, who clocked the same time.
Finally for T&T, in the men’s 400m hurdles, Jehue Gordon, who is ranked fourth in the Diamond League, clocked 48.91 seconds to finish fifth. Cornel Fredericks of South Africa won it in a season-best 48.25.
World record holder and Olympic gold medalist David Rushida could only finish third in the 800 metres, behind Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti.
Amos, who beat Rushida to gold at the Commonwealth Games last month, won the event in 1 minute, 43.77 seconds.
Souleiman finished in 1:43.93, edging out Rushida on the line by three hundredths of a second.
Elsewhere, world champion LaShawn Merritt comfortably won the 400 with a time of 44.36, beating fellow American Gil Roberts in 44.96. Isaac Makwala of Botswana was third in 45.03.
In the women's events, Dawn Harper-Nelson of the United States beat Olympic champion Sally Pearson and European champion Tiffany Porter in the 100 hurdle.
The Zurich leg of the Diamond League will be followed by the final event in Brussels next Thursday.