The women’s 100 metes has been exciting all season long. Stuart Weir wrote this piece on the amazing season, and the new stars who will shine in 2019-2020.
The women’s 100 meters may only have lasted 11 seconds but it was 11 seconds of excitement and intrigue. That the race lasted 11 seconds was a surprise in itself as seven of the field had gone under 11 seconds this season.
It was a truly international field – 4 Africans, 3 Europeans and an athlete from the Caribbean. What was most surprising was that there was no Jamaican or American in the field. No one from the two countries which have dominated women’s sprinting, winning the every Olympic and World Championship 100m in the last 10 years. The Olympic Champion, Elaine Thompson, has ended her season early because of injury, while the reigning world champion, Tori Bowie has not run much this year.
The race started with the disqualification of Blessing Okagbare for starting too soon. Rules are rules but it was a pity to lose one of the 8. Moreover, a false start tends to unsettle the rest.
Marie-JosÃ©e Ta Lou was the stand out favorite, having won the 100 in Doha, Eugene, Lausanne and Monaco – the slowest of those four being 10.90. Murielle AhourÃ© and Dina Asher-Smith had each had a first and a second in Oslo and Stockholm when Ta Lou skipped the Scandinavian leg.
The Diamond League final finished
Murielle AhourÃ© 11.01
Dina Asher-Smith 11.08
Marie-JosÃ©e Ta Lou 11.10
An analysis of the reaction times reveals a great deal. AhourÃ© beat Asher-Smith and Ta-Lou by 7 and 9 hundredths of a second. Her reaction was 10 hundredths faster than Asher-Smith. Asher-Smith beat Ta-Lou by 2 hundredths, exactly the margin by which she started quicker than her rival. On this occasion it was all about the start.
Two Ivorians in the first three might have surprised us at one time but less so now when we recall the World Indoors in Birmingham this year, where Murielle and Marie-JosÃ©e took first and second in the 60m.
After the race, AhourÃ© commented on her race and its larger context, saying: “I am soooo excited. Before the African championships I had to pull out, I was so disappointed because I missed the African championships. I was not sure about my shape then. I wanted to do at least one more race. I am so happy to come here and to win it. My coach told me concerning execution “Show everybody what you have got.” Now I will go home to Houston, Texas and get some rest and get ready for next year. This is my first Diamond Trophy. I am so excited and so happy. In Africa we have got so much talent, I want to inspire many girls in my home country. In this final we were also many African sprinters, four athletes”.
Asher-Smith commented that she had achieved much more in 2018 than she had ever anticipated. Hopefully by the time of the World Championships, Tori Bowie, English Gardner, Elaine Thompson and possibly even Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will be fit and ready to challenge the tree Zurich 2018 medallists.