Jamaicans Thompson and Blake in top form at home

Elaine Thompson celebrating her 200m win. She matched the season's best of 22.09sec a week after setting the 2017 world-leading 100m time.
Elaine Thompson celebrating her 200m win. She matched the season's best of 22.09sec a week after setting the 2017 world-leading 100m time.PHOTO: REUTERS

KINGSTON (Jamaica) • Hometown heroine Elaine Thompson put on an impressive show against a strong field and Canada's Andre de Grasse won his first race on Jamaican soil at an international track meet on Saturday.

She clocked 22.09 seconds in the women's 200m to equal the 2017 world-leading time, while Rio Olympics silver medallist de Grasse dominated the final 50m to take the men's race in 20.14sec at the 14th Jamaica International Invitational in the National Stadium.

But, on a night when Yohan Blake also stormed to a 9.93sec in the men's 100m, Thompson shone the brightest.

After clocking a world-leading 10.78sec in Shanghai a week earlier, she got off to a good start and was catching opponents by the time they got to the curve.

She was in front by the time they got to the straight and just kept going away to win easily, equalling the time run by Americans Tori Bowie and Deajah Stevens this year.

Jamaican compatriot Shericka Jackson, a 400m specialist, was second in 22.61 and American Shalonda Solomon third in 22.64.

GREAT START, GOOD CONTROL

The coach told me to come off the curve as fast as I can and then control the race.

ELAINE THOMPSON, on how she ran a world-leading time of 22.09sec in the 200m at the Jamaica International Invitational.

Thompson admitted to being "a little tired" because of her busy schedule but said she executed her race well. "The coach told me to come off the curve as fast as I can and then control the race," she said.

De Grasse, 22, made his first race on Jamaican soil a winning one. The field managed to stay within reach until he turbo-charged his way past American LaShawn Merritt, who finished second in 20.28sec. Britain's Jamaican-based sprinter Zarnel Hughes was third in 20.29sec.

De Grasse said he needs to improve his overall fitness and said he would go back home and work harder. "I went out there and executed the first 150 metres then held on. It was a tough run. I wanted to check my fitness," he said. "Now I have to get back to training because this was tough."

Blake, the 2011 World Championships gold medallist who has battled injuries over the last few seasons, delivered a superb performance in the 100m, dipping under 10sec for the first time since 2012. American Ronnie Baker had a season's best 9.98sec to take silver, while compatriot Mike Rodgers claimed bronze in 10.02sec.

Yesterday, US veteran Justin Gatlin, so often the pantomime villain of men's sprinting, returned to winning form with a pedestrian 100m victory in Japan.

The two-time doping offender recovered from a poor start in Kawasaki to win the Golden Grand Prix in 10.28sec into a slight headwind, as he pipped Japan's Aska Cambridge by three-hundredths, with Shuhei Tada (10.35) third.

I've been a little injured so I haven't been able to train as hard as I want to," the 35-year-old former Olympic champion told reporters.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2017, with the headline 'Jamaicans Thompson and Blake in top form at home'. Print Edition | Subscribe