ROME: Shericka Jackson is gunning for an individual gold medal at next month’s world championships after seeing off a star-studded field to claim victory in the women’s 200m at Thursday’s Diamond League meeting in Rome.
Jamaican Jackson clocked 21.91sec to cross well clear of double Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah and reigning world champion Dina Asher-Smith.
The 27-year-old won bronze in the 100m in last year’s Tokyo Olympics and was part of the 4x100m relay team, alongside Thompson-Herah, which won gold in the Japanese capital.
“My aim is to add a gold medal to my name,” said Jackson.
“I have many individual medals at 400m and 100m, but I need to get that gold medal in any event that might be. This is my aim this season.”
Jackson ended Thompson-Herah’s unbeaten record this season with a meeting record and season’s best time as the worlds in Eugene, Oregon, loom.
Her performance was all the more impressive due to her compatriot and Briton Asher-Smith both running respective season’s best times of 22.25sec and 22.27sec.
“This race was a good one. I ran a season´s best, I cannot complain,” said Thompson-Herah.
“I still have to work on some stuff. Now I concentrate on my nationals and I am looking forward to the world championships.”
Another Tokyo gold medal winner in Athing Mu showed what she was made of by strolling to victory in her favored 800m on her first appearance in a European Diamond League meeting.
American Mu, one of the stars of last year’s Olympics who turned 20 on Wednesday, finished in 1:57.01, the fastest time in the world this year.
Mu was racing the distance for the first time in a serious outdoor event this season and blitzed the opposition, finishing nearly two seconds ahead of France’s Renelle Lamont.
“I knew the pace was going to go out, but by the time we got to next two hundred I had no idea. I am very happy with the time,” said Mu.
Femke Bol took the honors in the women’s 400m hurdles with a season’s best time of 53.02sec.
Dutch hope Bol, silver medalist at this year’s indoor worlds over the 400m flat, finished ahead of Jamaican Janieve Russell and Ukraine’s Anna Ryzhykova.
Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli set a new meeting record in the 5,000m, winning his first Diamond League race in 12:46.33 to beat marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge’s previous stadium best set back in 2004.
His time, over five seconds better than his previous personal best, was also the fastest of the year so far and allowed him to pip fellow Kenyan Jacob Krop to the win.
“I am so proud to achieve a world lead and a personal best and the meeting record,” said Kimeli.
Fred Kerley eased to victory in the men’s 100m, cruising home in 9.92sec well ahead of a field which was without injured home hero Lamont Marcell Jacobs.
Shock Olympic gold medal winner Jacobs pulled out of the event and a chance for a rematch at an outdoor event with American Kerley, who finished behind the Italian in Tokyo’s blue riband event.
Jacobs said that he was hoping to compete in “one or two” events before the July 15-24 world championships in Eugene after suffering a problem with his glute muscles during a meeting in Savona last month.
He told reporters that he would like to take part in an event with “a semifinal and a final in order to be able to put two races close together.”
“But if that’s not possible, we’ll go to Eugene hoping to do the best we can,” he added.
That Savona meeting was his first 100m race since stunning the world by taking gold in Tokyo.
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