The 100 meters is always a highlight in London. London DL is one of my favorite events. The athletes, the facility, the fans, and the presentation are always top notch. This is Stuart Weir’s first column on the 2019 Muller Anniversary Games, please enjoy!
With the U.S. Championships and trials taking place next weekend there was a dearth of American athletes at the 2019 Anniversary Games in London. In some events, the quality was lower than it would otherwise have been, but on many occasions other athletes stepped up to the plate.
The men’s 100m was eagerly awaited by the British crowd, as there was no less than nine British athletes in the field of the two heats leading into a final. Zharnel Hughes (9.96) was the only athlete in the two prelims to go sub 10. He was also one of only two Brits to make the final, along with Adam Gemili. A particular disappointment was to see CJ Ujah run 10.19 for sixth. James Ellington was last in his heat in 10.93 but that was a magnificent achievement when one recalls him nearly dying in a horrific motorbike accident in January 2017. He got the reaction from the crowd that he deserved. Unfortunately Reece Prescod was not in the field.
In the final the top five were under 10 seconds with Akani Simbine (South Africa) winning in 9.93 from Zharnel Hughes (9.95) – completing his second sub 10 race in one afternoon. Yohan Blake was third and Andre de Grasse fifth. In fourth place was Yoki Koike (Japan) in a PR of 9.98 and a group of Japanese journalists celebrated it as if he had won the Olympics, the World Championship and the Superbowl in the same afternoon!
Simbine said of his performance: “I’m really happy with the time. I came here to get the Diamond League points and make sure I get the win to build the confidence and I come away with a season’s best. It’s always amazing running here and pleased to just come out healthy and finish on top. It’s mostly about building the confidence and making sure I get through the races and winning them so by the time I get to World Champs and I’m facing the rest of the world I’ll be ready and the confidence will be there and I’ll be able to believe in the work I’ve done”.
Zharnel Hughes said: “I am quite happy – minus the stumble – but I think I ran a great race and held my composure and it was good to be in front of a London crowd. I always enjoy racing out here, it’s just a shame I could not run a little faster”.
It’s a long season, Zharnel, there will be plenty of time to run faster before Doha.