Jackson leads 18 Jamaicans at final Diamond League meet
The world's top athletes will go for glory this Saturday and Sunday when the Wanda Diamond League finals take place at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, following 13 stops spanning over five months.
The athletes will compete in 32 disciplines over the two days, with 16 on each day, as the winner of each event will collect a Diamond Trophy and US$30,000. In addition, there will be a wild-card entry for the winners to the 2025 World Athletics Championships.
Some 18 Jamaicans, led by Budapest World Championships women's 200 metres winner Shericka Jackson, will be in action over the two days. Jackson, the defending champion in the half-lap race, will contest two events, as she will also compete in the women's 100 metres, slated for Saturday's opening day at 3:40 p.m. Jamaica time.
Jackson, who was second in last year's final behind countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, will be involved in what could be the race of the meet. With a season and personal best of 10.65 seconds, she will go up against the in-form Sha'Carri Richardson of the United States of America (USA), the World Championships winner, who also has a season and personal best of 10.65 seconds. There is also the Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou with a season best of 10.75 and was fourth in Budapest; and Olympic Games champion Elaine Thompson Herah.
Thompson Herah, who had a late start to her season and is the double Olympic Games two-time sprint defending champion, is running into good form after posting a season-best 10.84 seconds in her last race in Brussels.
The other Jamaican is Natasha Morrison, who recorded a season best of 10.95 seconds in her last race, when finishing second behind Thompson Herah at the Brussels meet.
Seven other Jamaicans will be in action on Saturday's opening day. Rusheen McDonald will be the first as he will contest the men's 400 metres at 2:16 p.m. The fastest in the field with a season-best 44.03 seconds, McDonald will be hoping to go all the way against defending champion Kirani James of Grenada, Budapest's second-place finisher Matthew Hudson Smith of Great Britain, and the USA's duo of Vernon Norwood and Quincy Hall, who will all be his main danger.
Kishane Thomson, the fastest Jamaican sprinter this season with a season and personal best of 9.85 seconds, will lead compatriots Ackeem Blake and Yohan Blake in the men's 100 metres at 3:07 p.m.
Following her recent personal best of 15.01 metres, Shanieka Ricketts will join Kimberly Williams in the women's triple jump at 2:49 p.m., with defending champion Yulimer Rojas of Venezuela aiming to continue her unbeaten run.
Danniel Thomas-Dodd will close out the Jamaicans' entry on the day when she contests the women's shot put.
Jackson, after failing to break the women's 200 metres world record at the Brussels meet where she clocked 21.48 seconds for the win, with a season and personal best 21.41 seconds, is a cinch to retain her title and will, for the last time this season, attempt the 21.34 seconds world record on Sunday at 4:49 p.m.
Eight other Jamaicans will compete on Sunday, where Hansle Parchment and Tajay Gayle have outstanding chances of going all the way.
Parchment, who will contest the men's 110 metres hurdles at 3:52 p.m., hopes to go two places better following his third-place finish a year ago behind defending champion Grant Holloway of the USA and Rasheed Broadbell of Jamaica.
Parchment, the Budapest World Championships silver medallist, is coming off back-to-back wins, including a victory over Holloway in Xiamen, China, where he raced to a season best of 12.96 seconds to defeat the American, who also has a season best of 12.96 seconds.
With most of his main rivals, including World Championships gold medallist and defending champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece, being absent from the meet, this could pave the way for Gayle to go all the way in the men's long jump, slated for 1:48 p.m.
Other Jamaicans in action on Sunday will see World Championships bronze medallists Rushell Clayton and Janieve Russell contesting the women's 400 metres hurdles; World Championship gold medallist Danielle Williams battling the field in the women's 100 metres hurdles along with Megan Tapper; Candice McLeod contesting the women's 400 metres; and Natoya Goule-Toppin fighting for top honours in the women's 800 metres.