ATHLETICS: Two world leaders in Grenada Invite, but Gatlin pulls up in 200 m

New world leader in the 100 m hurdles: Evonne Britton (USA)

The third Grenada Invitational always finds drama and this year’s meet focused all of the attention on the final event, the men’s 200 m.

Comebacking Andre De Grasse (CAN) and 2017’s 100 m world champ Justin Gatlin of the U.S. were supposed to be the dramatis personae, but it didn’t turn out that way.

Off the gun, it was British sprinter Miguel Francis who was off and running in lane eight, while everyone was watching Gatlin in lane five and De Grasse in six. Into the straightaway, Francis has control of the race – but couldn’t see anyone behind him – as De Grasse closed in and Gatlin began moving up with 80 m left.

But Gatlin slowed and grabbed his left hamstring, jogging across the line last, while Francis continued smoothly to the line, with De Grasse unable to catch him. The reward for Francis was a world-leading 20.16, with De Grasse just behind in 20.20, the fastest he has run in two years.

Francis, who has a best of 19.88 from 2016, said afterwards that he was just trying to execute his plan to run hard from the start and then maintain his form in the straightaway. De Grasse, after two years of injuries, said “I’m happy I came out healthy. Now I can go back to the drawing board and figure out what I have to do. I haven’t raced in over a year.”

Gatlin was asked by ESPN field reporter Jill Montgomery if he was OK and Gatlin replied only, “I hope so.” The injury appeared to be more of a cramp, but time will tell. Kyle Greaux (TTO) was third in the race at 20.51.

The other world-leading mark came in the women’s 100 m hurdles, where American Evonne Britton – strong during the indoor season – ran 12.81 for a lifetime best and the top mark in the world for 2019.

Among the other winners was home favorite Bralon Taplin, who ran a sterling 44.92 to take the 400 m over Vernon Norwood of the U.S. (45.43); Jamaica’s Shelley-Anne Fraser-Pryce, who won the women’s 100 m in 11.20; Britain’s Adam Gemili, winner of the men’s 100m in 10.11, and Jamaica’s Andrew Riley, who won the 110 m hurdles in 13.49.

The complete results are here.

There were three other world leaders in the past few days, led by an impressive 44.60 for 400 m hurdles star Abderrahmane Samba (QAT) on 9 April in Pretoria (RSA); 67.15 m (220-3) in the women’s discus for Valarie Allman of the U.S. in the wind-tunnel conditions at Chula Vista, California, and 67.72 m (222-2) in the women’s javelin for China’s Huihui Lu in Huangshi (CHN).