Sudanese sprinter Ahmed Ali (© Getty Images)
Among the many elites opening their seasons at the Florida Relays was Canada's Andre De Grasse, who clocked a wind-assisted 9.99 to win the men's 100m on Friday. However it was an unheralded 22-year-old who stole the show, Ahmed Ali of Sudan running a national record of 20.16 (2.0m/s) to win the college invitational 200 metres.
The Alabama student's run took a huge chunk off his previous best of 20.46 and proved the highlight of the three-day meeting, which came to a conclusion on Saturday (2). His performance also usurped Lashawn Merritt at the head of the world rankings. Merritt had blasted to a world lead of 20.23 (0.7m/s) to open the events on Thursday afternoon.
Elsewhere in the sprints, De Grasse was most impressive when winning the men’s 100m in a wind-aided 9.99 (3.0m/s). Hua Wifried Koffi took second in 10.04, with Kemar Hyman third in 10.14.
In the women’s 200m, Tiffany Townsend beat a deep field to take the victory in a wind-aided 22.38 (3.7m/s). Veronica Campbell-Brown ran 22.46 for second and Shalonda Solomon rounded out the top three in a time of 22.58. In the men's 110m hurdles, Eddie Lovett ran 13.39 to finish ahead of Deuce Carter and Ronald Forbes, who were both timed at 13.41. Jason Richardson and Jeff Porter ran 13.50 and 13.51 to finish fourth and fifth respectively.
Mike Berry claimed victory in the men’s 400m with a time of 45.51. Claudia Francis ran the 400m hurdles for the first time in her career and won the race in 56.43. In the men’s 400m hurdles, veteran Kerron Clement won narrowly over Eric Alejandro, 50.17 to 50.18.
De Grasse also starred in the relays for Canada. He anchored the 4 x 100m team that ran 38.11, a mark that was .02 faster than the Canadian bronze medal team at the IAAF World Championships last year. The Star Athletics team, which had Justin Gatlin on the second leg, finished second in 38.24. De Grasse came back later in the meet to run on the Canadian 4 x 200m squad. That quartet ran 1:19.20 and beat the field by over a second.
World lead for Vasquez, Tamgho returns
In the middle-distance events, Wesley Vasquez of Puerto Rico was the star performer, running 1:44.75 to win the men's 800m. Andres Arroyo finished second and set a lifetime best of 1:45.78. Chanelle Price ran 2:01.72 to win the women’s 800m, with Cory McGee returning to her alma mater and placing second in 2:02.73.
Henry Wynne broke the stadium record that has stood since 1973 in the men’s 1500m, running 3:38.35. Ashley Higginson won the women’s 1500m in 4:12:81.
Teddy Tamgho opened his outdoor season in the triple jump, his first-round jump of 16.63m proving more than enough to take victory, but the French athlete could manage no better on his next five attempts. The rest of his series featured three fouls and only one other jump over 16 metres. In other field event action, Raven Saunders won the shot put with a mark of 17.26m.
Kevin Sully for the IAAF