LaFond, Paulino among winners at USATF LA Grand Prix

By Sports Desk May 18, 2024

World champions Thea LaFond and Marileidy Paulino were among the winners on day two of the USATF LA Grand Prix at the UCLA Drake Stadium on Saturday.

LaFond produced 14.37m in the fifth round to win ahead of Jamaican two-time World Championship silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts (14.36m) and American Tori Franklin (13.87m).

LaFond made history in March when she became the first Dominican to win gold at a World Athletics Championships. She produced a national record 15.01m to take top spot at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Elsewhere on Saturday, reigning World 400m champion Marileidy Paulino remained unbeaten this season with 50.27 to win ahead of World 800m champion Mary Moraa (50.56) and American Alexis Holmes (50.73).

2011 World champion Kirani James was second in the men's equivalent in a season's best 44.85 behind American 2022 World champion Michael Norman Jr who won in 44.53. Vernon Norwood was third in 44.86.

World Championship finalist and world U-20 record holder Roshawn Clarke opened his season in the 400m hurdles with a respectable 48.11 to finish second behind American Rai Benjamin who ran a world leading 46.64. World Championship silver medallist Kyron McMaster was third in 48.51.

Andrenette Knight ran a season’s best 54.69 for second in the women’s equivalent behind American Anna Cockrell who ran a season’s best of her own with 53.75. Cassandra Tate was third in 55.02.

On Friday's day one, Jamaica's Roje Stona threw 66.93m to win the men's discus ahead of Chile's Claudio Romero (64.12m) and the USA's Brian Williams (63.36m).

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    National 110m hurdles record holder Omar McLeod continued his resurgence this season with a winning effort at the Paavo Nurmi Games, a Word Athletics Continental Tour-Gold event in Turku, Finland on Tuesday.

    The 2016 Olympic and 2017 World champion produced a season’s best 13.25 to win the final of the men’s sprint hurdles ahead of Belgium’s Elie Bacari (13.38) and Finland’s Elmo Lakka (13.43).

    The 30-year-old earlier ran 13.29 to advance fastest from the heats.

    The women’s sprint hurdles saw World Championships silver medallist Britany Anderson produce a season’s best 12.87 for sixth in the final after running 12.93 earlier in the heats.

    The final was won by American World champion Nia Ali in 12.48 just ahead of Dutchwoman Nadine Visser (12.51). Ireland’s Sarah Lavin was third in 12.66.

    This was McLeod’s third win in four events this season, with his previous two coming in Italy on May 15 and 19 with times of 13.37 and 13.47 at the Savona International Meeting and Lucca International Meeting, respectively.

    Elsewhere, two-time World Championships triple jump silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts took the win in the women’s triple jump with a best jump of 14.17m coming in the first round of the competition.

    Italy’s Dariya Derkach was second with 14.08m while Sweden’s Maja Askag was third with 14.06m.

    Two-time World champion Anderson Peters threw 82.58m for fourth in the javelin throw behind India’s Neeraj Chopra (85.97m) and the Finnish pair of Toni Keranen (84.19m) and Oliver Helander (83.96m).

  • Cuban-born Jordan Diaz Fortun produces third-longest triple jump in history to win gold at European Championships Cuban-born Jordan Diaz Fortun produces third-longest triple jump in history to win gold at European Championships

    Cuban-born Spanish triple jumper Jordan Diaz Fortun produced a spectacular performance to win triple jump gold on day five at the European Championships in Rome on Tuesday.

    The 23-year-old, who switched allegiance from Cuba to Spain in November 2022, produced a championship record and world-leading 18.18m to take gold ahead of Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo and France’s Thomas Gogois.

    Diaz Fortun led the competition after the first round with a 17.56m jump before Pichardo, who also switched allegiance from Cuba in 2017, produced the world’s first 18m jump since 2021 with 18.04m to take the lead in the second round.

    The Spaniard’s next two efforts were 17.82m in the second round and 17.96m in the fourth round after a third-round foul, finding himself just short of Pichardo’s mark heading into round five.

    In that fifth round, he produced what is now the third-longest triple jump of all time with a breathtaking 18.18m, only trailing Christian Taylor’s 18.21m and Jonathan Edwards’s world record 18.29m.

    Diaz Fortun’s jump also established a new European Championship record, eclipsing Edwards’s 17.99m set back in 1998.

    Pichardo’s next three best jumps after his monstrous 18.04m in round two were 17.55m in round three, 17.47m in round five and 17.92m in round six.

    Gogois produced a personal best 17.38m in the sixth round to secure the bronze medal.

      

  • “I am so happy”: Smith beaming after completing jumps double at NCAA Championships; excited for Jamaica’s future in jumps “I am so happy”: Smith beaming after completing jumps double at NCAA Championships; excited for Jamaica’s future in jumps

    Texas junior Ackelia Smith made history at the recently concluded NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships when she became the first Longhorn to ever sweep the horizontal jumps.

    Smith first defended her title in the long-jump event on Thursday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon with a mark of 6.79 meters, becoming the first Texas woman to win back-to-back titles in 18 years.

    Two days later, the 22-year-old won the triple-jump title with a season’s best mark of 14.52m. 

    In an interview with CITIUS MAG after her win in the triple jump, Smith, who is now a three-time NCAA Champion, expressed her joy at winning the double.

    “I am so happy that I could come out there and get both of them done for my team and for myself. I was a little mopey about the long jump but I got back to the triple definitely took it out there,” she said.

    “When I got to the triple jump I just told myself ‘hey, we’re here to compete.’ I was trying to get a personal best and, even though I did not get that, I was pretty consistent with my jumps,” she added.

    In the long jump competition, half of Smith’s six attempts were fouls and her three legal jumps were the winning 6.79m, 5.21m and 6.77m.

    She had a much better and more consistent showing in the triple jump, producing four legal jumps that all cleared 14m.

    Smith says the key in the triple jump was to embrace the nervousness a bit more.

    “I re-evaluated what I did for the long jump and realized that I might’ve been a bit too comfortable so I went out there trying to be more anxious and keep that edge. That’s what pushed me through out there,” she said.

    Smith is a part of a golden generation of young Jamaican jumpers and sees a bright future for the island nation in the discipline.

    “Growing up I used to hear about Kimberly Williams then after Kimberly came Shanieka (Ricketts). I’ve been looking up to these ladies and it’s been great to see the Jamaican jumps growing, especially the triple because not many people do the triple,” she said.

    “It’s good to see actual growth and I’ve seen a lot more Jamaicans competing here at the championships. I think it’s wonderful for the future. Even on the guys side, it definitely looks good for Jamaica in the jumps,” Smith added.

    Her next goal is to make it onto Jamaica’s team to the Paris Olympics and, hopefully, find herself on the podium at those Games.

    The Jamaican trials are set for June 27-30 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

     

     

     

     

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