The Floridian city of Clermont is something of a mecca for sprinters with a track that’s conducive to fast times and a near guarantee of favourable conditions.
Often the breeze blows a bit too hard, giving performances illegal wind assistance. But at the NTC Pure Athletics Sprint Elite Meet on Saturday (18), some athletes escaped the addition of the dreaded ‘w’ after their marks and produced impressive times at this early stage of the season.
European champion Tiffany Porter was one of the lucky few to come away from the competition with a wind-legal mark; two of them, in fact. After clocking 12.67 (1.9m/s) in the 100m hurdles heats, she ran a world-leading 12.56 (1.8m/s) in the final, her fourth-fastest time ever and just 0.05 shy of her British record.
Fellow Brit Lucy Hatton, the European indoor silver medallist, continued where she left off from the indoor season. Having reduced her 60m hurdles PB from 8.33 to 7.90 during the winter, the 20-year-old smashed her 100m hurdles PB in Clermont by 0.27 in the heats with 12.93 and then went quicker in the final with 12.84.
Porter wasn’t the only European champion to triumph in Clermont. Dafne Schippers, the double European sprint champion, got her outdoor season off to a promising start. She clocked a windy 11.03 (2.2m/s) in the 100m heats to finish behind Tori Bowie’s 10.94, but then produced the fastest time of the day in the final with 10.90, this time assisted by a 3.9m/s breeze.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Keston Bledman twice dipped below the 10-second barrier in the men’s 100m, both times with illegal wind assistance. After running 9.97 (3.6m/s) in the heats, he went quicker in the final with less wind, clocking 9.94 (3.4m/s).
In the men’s 200m, Kenya’s Carvin Nkanata benefitted from a useful 1.9m/s following breeze to run a world-leading 20.14, breaking the national record in the process.
World champion David Oliver finished comfortably ahead of 2011 world champion Jason Richardson in the 110m hurdles heats, running 13.19 to his US compatriot’s 13.32 (2.5m/s). But Oliver didn’t contest the final, leaving Richardson to take the victory in 13.31 (2.1m/s).
Shaunae Miller, the 2010 world junior and 2011 world youth 400m champion from The Bahamas, gave herself a belated birthday present just four days after turning 21.
The world indoor bronze medallist won the one-lap sprint in 51.83 then returned a few hours later to win her 200m heat in 22.50 (1.6m/s). USA’s Shalonda Solomon went slightly quicker in the other 200m heat with 22.44, but was aided by a 2.1m/s following wind.
World junior champion Machel Cedenio of Trinidad and Tobago opened his season with a personal best in the 400m. The 19-year-old clocked 45.09 to shave 0.04 off the PB he set when winning the global under-20 title in Eugene last year.
There was a British double in the long jump. Dan Bramble added 30 centimetres to his lifetime best to win the men’s contest with 8.21m (1.8m/s). In a close competition, he beat world silver medallist Ignisious Gaisah (8.19m) and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor (8.18m).
Shara Proctor, the 2012 world indoor bronze medallist, was an easy winner of the women’s event with a world-leading 6.77m.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF