Crouser breaks his Shot Put record, Kerley reigns supreme in Rabat, and Tsegay runs staggering time in Rabat.
Another weekend, another tale of Track and Field stories to digest. One Continental Tour Gold in Los Angeles and the second Diamond League meeting in Rabat threw up plenty of storylines but we’ve selected a few that took us aback as we begin to reach the middle of the outdoor season.
Certainly, Ryan Crouser’s world record was the peak of the bunch, having broken his own world record, World record holder in the women’s 100m Hurdles Tobi Amusan falters once again, and Fred Kerley proved to the world why he’s the reigning world champion as he took the men’s 100m in Rabat.
Ryan Crouser is in his own world; we are just living in it.
How does one begin to decipher an athlete like Ryan Crouser? The American keeps giving us many reasons to ask about the limits of the human body. Granted, the men’s Shot Put isn’t as glamorous as Usain Bolt running fasting than everyone else or maybe even Mondo Duplantis vaulting to heights beyond human imagination, but if there is one man that has made the event look very alluring, it has to be this giant of a specimen.
At the 2023 Los Angeles Grand Prix, which was this season’s sixth World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, Crouser, who usually goes about his business like a herder tending his sheep. The American took down his world record from 2021 and threw a big mark of 23.56m. In the grand scheme of things, this ranks up there as one of the greatest performances in the history of the sport. He had a competition score of 1334. For context, Bolt scored 1356 when he broke the world record in Berlin in 2009.
In the span of 18 months, Crouser has broken the world record twice. Typically, you rarely see such in elite athletics. What is more common is for an athlete to reach his/her peak, break a record and most likely stagnate or have a drop of in results. It’s human nature, really. The innate need to feel complacent. After all, in a sport like athletics, success is mostly measured by titles won at the world championships or Olympics. As they say, records can be taken down by anyone at any time in history.
But for Crouser, the need for more water to quench his thirst continues, which has spurred him on to his latest achievement. He has been working on a new technique involving a larger step across the ring rather than a more static stance. He said that he used the step-in rounds two through six, and the technique really “clicked” for him. What next would she try to reach new levels? Time will tell.
What’s happening to world record holder Tobi Amusan?
The women’s 100m Hurdles in Los Angeles was billed to be the meet’s marquee event, and it did live up to the hype. Athletics is one that has always seen top stars in their events avoid each other, but you can’t fault the field in the women’s hurdles. This line-up had the former and current world record holder in Tobi Amusan and Kendra Harrison and Olympic Champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn.
Camacho-Quinn continued her winning streak by clocking a world lead of 12.31, but the biggest story of the race was Amusan coming last. Typically, one will attribute it to early season form, but the numbers are not adding up.
Amusan has finished 2nd, 4th, and 8th in her last three races over the hurdles, with her best time being 12.59s. And she ran 12.69s. These are terrible numbers for an athlete who only ten months ago broke the world record and became the world champion. One can chalk it up to psychological issues, which most times affect the performances of athletes, but why show up in the first place? Surely something drastic needs to change for Amusan, and need it’s to happen as fast as she ran the world record last summer.
Fred Kerley is the current King of sprinting after winning in Rabat
One can liken the current crop of 100m sprinters to a coalition of lions fighting for territory in the savanna. They have talked and ruffled each other up prior to meeting up at the Rabat Diamond League. Perhaps, the collections of these sprinters were as fast as we would get outside a major championship, and only one man reigned supreme on the day.
Fred Kerley showed why he’s still the man to beat come to the world championships with a powerful display of superb sprinting under the night sky of Rabat, shaking off early competition from world leader Ferdinand Omanyala and former African Record holder Akani Simbine who was second.
The 9.94s, which was the winning time, might not set tongue waxing lyrical, but this win was more about proving who was the fastest on the day than it is with what popped up on the TimeTronics.
Sha’Carri Richardson finally finds some consistency.
In the last couple of months, Sha’Carri Richardson has done her taking on the track with minimal fuss. The US Sprinter currently tops the world standings with her 10.76s, and a match-up was on the horizon with African Record holder Marie Josee Ta Lou at the Los Angeles Grand Prix.
Both went through their heats pretty easily, but it was Richardson’s 10.90 that looked the more effortless as she put on the breaks with about 40m to win. Although she didn’t show up for the final, citing cramps, her race in the heat certainly will send shivers down the spine of her rivals. She looked extremely fit and smooth in her execution.
No question Richardson can run much faster, and there is potentially a 10.6 in those legs if she runs through her race. Consistency is key at this point of the season, but taking care of her body is more important. Athletes know that getting into the world in top shape is super important, and Richardson is in that boat.
Gudaf Tsegay will give Faith Kipyegon a run for her money in Budapest after her win in Rabat.
World indoor 1500m record-holder Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia, who ran 4:16.16 for the mile and 8:16.69 for 3000m indoors in February, ran one of the races of the Rabat Diamond League as she went on to win the women’s 1500m in 3:54.03, African all-comers’ record.
The time doesn’t come close to Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07 World record time, but it, however, draws her closer to the ever-untouchable Faith Kipyegon, who remains undefeated in the event for almost two years. There is also the argument that being a well-rounded athlete, she’s able to tackle both the 1500m and 5000m very well.
Going into the summer, her aim will be to go for the double. But by virtue of this performance, there is increasingly a high possibility she snags both titles.