US sprint hurdler Keni Harrison (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Athens, USA

Harrison flies to 12.36 in first 100m hurdles race of the year

World indoor 60m hurdles finalist Kendra Harrison opened her 2016 outdoor season in stunning fashion by clocking 12.36 in the 100m hurdles at the Spec Towns Invitational meeting in Athens, USA, on Friday (9).

Aided by a 1.4m/s breeze on her back, the 23-year-old Harrison not only took 0.14 off her personal best but her time on the University of Georgia track elevated her to equal-ninth on the world all-time list and makes her the fifth fastest US woman ever.

Notably, no other hurdler has run this fast so early in the year and it was also the fastest ever wind-legal season-opener by a 100m hurdler.

Her flawless race, not even brushing a barrier, was partial compensation for her disaster in the Portland final last month.

Having been touted as a serious medal contender after two impressive wins on the IAAF World Indoor Tour, in Karlsruhe and Glasgow, and second place behind Brianna Rollins at the US Indoor Championships where she ran a 60m hurdles personal best of 7.77, in Portland Harrison smashed into the first hurdle and was never involved in the sharp end of the race.

Long jumper Kenyattia Hackworth, 22, also made a big step forward in Athens on Friday, improving her best by 10 centimetres to reach 6.60m and win her specialist event.

A day earlier, on Thursday, Estonia’s Karl Robert Saluri made a big breakthrough and improved by 611 points to win the decathlon with 8108, a tally that included six personal bests, among them a 4.95m pole vault.

Saluri, competing on his home track, was fifth at the IAAF World Junior Championships Barcelona 2012 but injuries combined with a move of universities, having previously being based in Arkansas, saw him not compete at all last year and contemplate giving up the sport.

However, Saluri credited his compatriot and training partner, fellow University of Georgia student Maciel Uibo who was 10th in the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 decathlon, for motivating him to bounce back from the various problems and upheavals.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF