The women’s 100 meters this year is much more of a global affair, with Murielle Ahoure and Marie-Josee Ta Lou going 1,2 in the World Indoors. In the Diamond League, Murielle Ahoure, Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Shauane Miller-Uibo have been turning heads. But, in Oslo, Murielle Ahoure and Dina Asher-Smith battled over the 100 meters, with two very fast times. Stuart Weir wrote this piece on the global stage that is the women’s 100 meters.
The women’s 100
With Ivory Coast’s Marie JosÃ©e Ta Lou, winner of the two previous Diamond League 100m races, taking the week off, who would win the race in Oslo? Well, another Ivorian of course, Murielle AhourÃ©. Remember the Ivorian 1-2 in the 2018 World Indoors in Birmingham with AhourÃ© first and Ta Lou taking silver? It was also a second win in Oslo for AhourÃ©.
AhourÃ© said of her win in 10.91, the first sub 11 seconds 100m since Kerron Stewart in 2009: “I know this track very well, and for first time dipped under 11 seconds here. Important was that I executed well. Conditions were favorable for the sprint and I used it”.
In second place was Dinah-Asher Smith in 10.92, a new British record. While she admits that people tend to see her more as a 200m runner, she was clearly delighted to get the GB record in the 100m. She said afterwards: “People probably think of me as a 200 runner because I’ve run it on the international stage a lot more often than the 100, partly because I’ve had some unfortunate injuries and the 200 is the one I’d done since I was 15. So when I’ve had limited training the 200 is always the one I feel more comfortable on. But I’m really happy to have run a new British record in the 100m. I can’t express how over the moon I am. I’m in good shape. I’ve been working hard. So I was hopeful. When I crossed the line I knew that Murielle had won but when I saw that her time was 10.91 and I knew I was close to her I thought it could be a PR and it was. So I’m really happy”.
The Ivorian dominance of women’s sprints this year is fascinating. While Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) took third place in both Eugene and Doha her times of 10.93 and 10.98 are some way off her Rio gold medal time of 10.71. Ta Lou, on the other hand, has run a PR of 10.85 this year. Thompson’s illustrious fellow Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is just getting back into running after the birth of her son last August.
The 2017 World Champion, Tori Bowie, has yet to break 11 seconds this year. In fact the only two American women who have gone under 11 seconds this year Aleia Hobbs (10.90), Ashley Henderson (10.98), Twanisha Terry (10.99) and Shania Collins (10.99) are unknown outside of the US.
The scene is set for some intriguing events in the coming months but we have to remember that athletes are just running for qualification for the Diamond League final. The format introduced last year makes the DL final a winner-take-all event, rather than the Diamond League champion being decided by accumulated points.
That the 7 fastest women in the world this year include 4 Africans – the two Ivorians, Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria) and Carina Horn (South Africa) as opposed to the usual American and Jamaican dominance can only be good for our sport.