All eyes were centered around two outstanding international sprinters during the IAAF Diamond League New York stop last Saturday afternoon. They were Yohan Blake, nicknamed the Beast’ and Nesta Carter, both of whom are highly ranked in the world.
Both hail from Jamaica, West Indies, an island that has produced many great sprinters over the years. There was no clear cut favorite in the 100-meter-dash, which was part of the Adidas Grand Prix stop at Icahn Stadium in Randalls Island.
When the race was over, Carter crossed the finish line in 10:09 seconds to Blake’s 10.21 seconds in an eight-man field, including four runners from Jamaica, West Indies.
Both certainly enjoyed competing in such a huge stadium. “It’s great to run here (in this stadium),” Carter said. “Many Jamaicans come out here (to watch us compete). The sun was out today. And I think that the wind was in our face. Jamaicans are always happy to see the sun shine.
“Next for me is the Nationals and then it’s Europe. I am looking forward to some good competition. Maybe, we’ll have a re-match in the future,” added Carter.
“It’s really fun to run in New York,” they both agreed.
But Blake felt very disappointed and down at the loss, as he actually went into the race a slight favorite.
Meanwhile, in the 200-meter-dash, Warren Weir and Nickel Ashmeade, both from Jamaica placed first and second with times of 19.82 seconds and 19.95 seconds respectively, and Alonso Edward of Panama finished right behind with a time of 20.06 seconds to also highlight the sprint action. Weir was extremely happy with his performance.
“I’m feeling good and proud to come out here and compete in front of this great crowd,” Weir said. “Not only are the Jamaicans great but everyone is.”
Meanwhile, on the field, Bohdan Bondarenko and Essa Barsham Mutaz each cleared 2.42 meters to tie for first place, but the former was awarded first place on fewer misses in a seven-man field. Both were off the world record of 2.45 meters held by Javier Javier Sotomayor. The competitors believe that the world outdoor record could be broken this year.
“The crowd was fantastic,” said Mutaz.
On the club level, Zenith Velocity Track Club ran a 3:10.14 for second place in the 4 x 400-meter relay.
Making his debut in this meet, Stephan James ran the anchor leg for Zenith Velocity. “I wasn’t nervous at all,” added James. “My team had the lead and it was just a matter of execution.”
James, who is pointing toward the Commonwealth Games, is also a soccer player and originally comes from Guyana, thanks to some of his friends, and I like soccer.
On the female side, the Metro Eagles girls 4 x 400-meter relay team which comprised Iantha Wright, Okoro Akio, Serena Smalls and Tantinna Martinez emerged victorious in a time of 4:10.16, in a field of eight teams.
“It’s hard and fun to run in a meet like this,” Smalls said. “Last year I couldn’t run because I was injured. But this year I ran my fastest.”
All the athletes had nothing but positive things to say about the meet, and many of them hope to return for another and exciting day at the track. The meet was very successful in every category.