This is Stuart’s column on the competitive nature of the women’s 100 meter hurdles and how it opened in Doha last Friday. Stuart has written one other column on Doha DL. Watch for it later today.
On paper the women’s 100m hurdles looked a great race, and it did not disappoint. The field included the 2016 Olympic champion, Brianna Rollins (now Mrs NcNeal) and the 2018 World Indoors champion, Keni Harrison. Sadly the 2017 World outdoor champion, Sally Pearson, is injured but London 2017 silver medallist, Dawn Harper-Nelson, was in the field.
There were three former winners of the Doha sprint hurdles race:
2017 Keni Harrison (12.59)
2015 Jasmin Stowers (12.35)
2013 Dawn Harper-Nelson (12.60)
Brianna McNeal was back after a year’s ban for missing three drugs tests – one when she was in a White House reception. She took what positives she could from the year out, treating the year as “a mental break, a year away from track and a time to get my body back after years of training”. It was also “a year to learn new hobbies – including cooking and baking”. She also got married during the year.
Dawn Harper-Nelson recently announced that 2018 would be her last season but she still has goals: “I want a PR. I want to win the Diamond League. I have 4 of those babies in my house and a fifth would just be so beautiful. But I also want to have a fun season too”.
Keni Harrison said in a pre-race press conference that she had shelved plans to run the 400 this season because she felt she still had unfinished business in the 100. Winning the Diamond League was her main goal for 2018.
The IAAF Indoor series in the 60m hurdles was an absorbing contest between Sharika Nelvis and Christina Manning. The Diamond League 100m hurdles has every likelihood of going the same way.
The Doha race ended with an American 1-2-3-4
1 Keni Harrison 12.53
2 Brianna McNeal 12.58
3 Sharika Nelvis 12.75
4 Jasmin Stowers 12.77
McNeal was ahead after eight hurdles but Harrison came through fast over the final part of the race to take the win.
Harrison summed up her win: “I didn’t get out well but I got the finish I wanted so I can’t complain. I don’t worry about what is going on around me. Brianna is a great competitor – and the other girls – you have definitely got to come out here and run your best. The event is so strong that anyone can take the win. You never know what is going to happen”.
McNeal was pleased with her first outing for a year: “I thought it was pretty good. I was pretty rusty at the end but I am excited to have my first big race out of the way. I need to go away and see what I need to do to fix the last two hurdles. I stumbled but was able to recover and finish the race and that is all that matters”.
With Harrison showing great form, McNeal running an excellent time despite her long absence, Nelvis and Stowers showing their potential and Christian Manning who won the IAAF Indoor Series to be added to the mix, the women’s 100H could be the closest and most exciting Diamond League discipline of the year.