FLORENCE – Trinidad & Tobago sprinter Jereem Richards was the only English-speaking Caribbean competitor to make it onto the podium during the World Athletics Diamond League meet yesterday in Italy.
The 29-year-old world 200 metres bronze medallist finished strongly to grab second at the Golden Gala in the Olympic Stadium with a time of 20.28 seconds behind teenage sprinting sensation Erriyon Knighton, whose winning 19.89 was a season-best for the American.
Running out of lane six, Richards got out of the blocks nicely, but he appeared not to be making headway at the halfway mark before he accelerated through the final 70 metres, and bowed three-hundredths of a second before Aaron Brown of Canada at the line.
Later, former world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica was seventh in the men’s 100 with a season’s best time of 10.15.
Fred Kerley of the United States continued to set the standard with a time of 9.93 and stayed unbeaten this season, Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya was second in 10.05, and American Trayvon Brommel was third in 10.09.
Earlier, Rushell Clayton of Jamaica faded badly and clocked 54.71 for sixth after showing early in the women’s 400 hurdles, and she was the only runner that failed to finish in a season-best or personal time.
World silver medallist Femke Bol of the Netherlands slammed the field when she shattered the 13-year-old meet record of American Lashinda Demus and set a world-leading time for the year of 52.43 seconds, shaving 0.69 off her mark four days ago in Oordegem, Belgium.
Shamier Little of the United States, coming off a win last week in Rabat, copped second with a season’s best 53.38, and her compatriot Anna Hall took third with a personal best of 54.42.
In the women’s flat 400, Aliyah Abrams of Guyana clocked 51.31 for sixth and Candice MacLeod of Jamaica ran 52.09 for seventh.
Natalia Kaczmarek of Poland finished in a season’s best 50.41 to win ahead of Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands with her season’s best of 50.75, and Lynna Irby-Jackson of the United States was third in 50.84.
The highlight of the meet came in the final race when Faith Kipyegon of Kenya captured the world record she had been hunting, winning the women’s 1500 in a stunning three minutes, 49.11 seconds.
The two-time Olympic and two-time world champion was already the second-fastest women’s 1500m runner of all time, but Kipyegon blew apart the record, becoming the first woman to break 3:50 in the discipline and taking almost a second off the previous record.