National quarter-miler and record holder in the women’s 400m Sada Williams captured the bronze medal and ended her 2021 track season on a fantastic note competing at the 2021 Diamond League held in Zurich, Switzerland.
The 23-year-old ran a time of 50.24 seconds in lane six and established her place among the best 400m female runners in the world. Quanera Hayes of the United States of America earned gold in 49.88 seconds. Silver went to Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic in 49.96. Paulino also came second at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Williams, a former student of Coleridge and Parry and in her later years Harrison College, entered the race with 17-points and became the first Barbadian to reach and compete at a Diamond League Final.
Williams, who trains in Jamaica, earned US$7, 000 for her performance having fought well to nip the fast-finishing Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson who clocked 50.25 seconds for fourth on the line.
Over the years while competing at the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship (BSSAC) Williams has shown tremendous promise and today continued to demonstrate her prowess as among the best ever in the island over that distance.
Williams continued her impeccable showing from the Tokyo Olympics where she not only made the semifinal but established a new Barbados record of 50.11 seconds to eclipse the 51.04 seconds set in 1978 by the outstanding Lorna Forde.
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah was the only Caribbean athlete to win on the final day of the Diamond League season. The Olympic 100 and 200m champion set a new meet record of 10.65 to win the 100m going away from Dina Asher-Smith who returned to form with a season-best run of 10.87 for second place. Third went to Ajla Del Ponte who ran a personal best 10.93. Daryll Neita also ran a personal best of 10.93 but was given fourth.
Since she won the gold medal in the 100m in Tokyo in a time of 10.61, Thompson-Herah has run times of 10.54, 10.64, 10.72 and 10.65 and became the first woman to run four wind-legal times under 10.70s.
During the meet where there were several close races, Kirani James narrowly missed out on winning the 400m in a stirring battle down the home stretch with Michael Cherry, whose legs gave out at the line but still managed to clock 44.41, just edging James as the two of them crashed to the track after crossing the line.
Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago made it a Caribbean 2-3 as he clocked 44.81.
Another close finish unfolded in the 110m hurdles that ended with the USA’s Devon Allen being declared the champion even though he and Jamaica’s Ronald Levy crossed the line together in 13.06. The time was 0.01 outside Levy’s lifetime best.
Olympic champion Hansle Parchment clipped a couple of hurdles, lost his rhythm and finished third in 13.17.
The 200m dashes were no different as Shericka Jackson ran a personal best 21.81 but just failed to hold off the fast-finishing Christine Mboma, who set a new WorldU20 record of 21.78, which was also an area record, for the victory.
Asher-Smith was unable to stay with them down the stretch and faded to third in 22.19.
Kenny Bednarek held off Andre Degrasse to win the men’s race in 19.70. His winning time was 0.02 seconds ahead of the Canadian who clocked 19.72.
Fred Kerley who won the 100m ahead of Degrasse, finished third in 19.83.
Megan Tapper has been on a tear since she became the first Caribbean woman to win a bronze medal in the 100m hurdles at the Olympics. She was third in Zurich in 12.55, just outside her lifetime best of 12.53 set during the first round of the event at the Tokyo Olympics last month.
It took a personal best and area record of 12.42 from Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan and a personal best and national record of 12.51 of the Netherlands’ Nadine Visser to beat her.
Karsten Warholm continued his imperious form in the 400m hurdles winning in 47.35 ahead of Alison Dos Santos (47.81) and Kyron McMaster (48.24).
Olympic bronze medallist Femke Bol took the women’s race in a meet record of 52.80. The USA’s Shamier Little ran 53.35 and Anna Ryzhykova, 53.70, for second and third, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the field, Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres finished third in the discus with his best mark of 65.33m.
It was no surprise that Sweden’s Daniel Stahl won the event with 66.49m. Kristjan Ceh of Sloevnia threw 65.39m for second.
The winner of the Women’s triple was also not surprising as Olympic champion and world record holder Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela soared out to a meet record 15.48m to take the win. Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts jumped 14.64 for the runner-up spot with her compatriot Kimberly Williams third with 14.41m. (SportsMax/MorissaLindsay)