Orlando Ortega

Elaine Thompson beats Tori Bowie in first 100m match up since Rio

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In their first match-up since the Rio Olympics, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson handily topped the U.S.’ Tori Bowie in the 100m at the second Diamond League meet of the season in Shanghai.

Thompson, the 100m and 200m gold medalist in Rio, raced to 10.78 seconds. Bowie – who took the silver medal in Rio – clocked a season’s best, 11.04, for second place.

“I made a great start and I was able to bring it home,” Thompson told media. “I am pleased with the time.”

Thompson added that her next stop will be to compete in the Jamaica Invitational later in May, followed by more world championships preparation.

Two-time Olympic 200m gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown from Jamaica finished sixth in 11.23 and Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta of the U.S. was last in 11.49.

In the men’s 100m hurdles, Olympic champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica came out ahead of Spain’s Orlando Ortega, 13.09 to 13.15. China’s Xie Wenjun was third in 13.31, followed by Hansle Parchment of Jamaica and Sergey Shubenkov clocking 13.35. Aries Merritt finished sixth in 13.36.

“I didn’t get out that great and that did not allow me to control the race,” McLeod said after the race, despite winning. “I didn’t execute that well and it turned into a bit of scrap. I know [Ortega] is a great competitor, so I’m pleased to win. Every time you go out to the track and win, it is a confidence booster. You don’t want to be defeated as that throws your confidence off.”

The U.S.’ Noah Lyles equaled the world’s fastest time this year at 19.90 in the 200m, ahead of teammate LaShawn Merritt who clocked 20.27.

Lyles, the 2016 world junior champion in the 100m, told media he believes the 200m is his strong suit. He plans to focus on that when competing in the Diamond League Rome meet, the Adidas meet, and the U.S. Trials.

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Olympic 100m rematch highlights Shanghai Diamond League

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Elaine Thompson and Tori Bowie match up Saturday for the first time since they shared the podium three times in Rio, live on Universal HD and NBC Sports Gold.

Thompson and Bowie headline the women’s 100m at the second Diamond League meet of the season in Shanghai. Meet coverage runs from 7-9 a.m. ET.

Thompson, who swept the 100m and 200m in Rio, ought to be the favorite. The Jamaican clocked 10.75 seconds in her first 100m since Rio on April 15. It was slightly wind-aided (2.2 meters/second), but only two women have broken 11 seconds with legal wind this year, and neither of them are in the Shanghai field.

Bowie, who took 100m silver and 200m bronze in Rio, ran an even windier 10.80 (3.3 meters/second tailwind), also on April 15. Bowie followed that up with a 22.09-second 200m on April 28, with a slight headwind, the fastest time in that event in the world this year.

However, Thompson clocked 22.19 with greater headwind (2.3 meters/second) in a Diamond League 200m last week.

With two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce out due to pregnancy, the 24-year-old Thompson and 26-year-old Bowie could be the head-to-head force of the 100m for some time. Shanghai will mark the second time they’ve been in the same 100m race.

Shanghai start lists are available here. Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

5:45 a.m. — Women’s shot put
6:35 — Men’s high jump
6:45 — Men’s pole vault
6:50 — Men’s discus
6:50 — Women’s discus
7:03 — Men’s 400m hurdles
7:10 — Women’s 1500m
7:24 — Men’s 100m
7:27 — Men’s long jump
7:34 — Women’s 400m
7:42 — Men’s 800m
7:51 — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
8:11 — Women’s 100m
8:20 — Men’s 200m
8:27 — Women’s 5000m
8:53 — Men’s 110m hurdles

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s High Jump — 6:35 a.m. ET

Olympic champion Derek Drouin of Canada faces his toughest field since Rio. It includes Olympic silver medalist Mutaz Barshim of Qatar, world silver medalist Zhang Guowei of China and the top American, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard.

Drouin may be somewhat vulnerable to his first outdoor loss since last July given he has been training for the decathlon with an eye on multi-eventing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Men’s Pole Vault — 6;45 a.m. ET

All three Olympic medalists, plus the 2015 World gold and silver medalists, make up the best field-event group of the Shanghai meet.

Brazilian Thiago Braz and France’s Renaud Lavillenie both compete outdoors for the first time this year after Braz surprisingly prevailed in their Rio duel. They’re joined by Rio bronze medalist Sam Kendricks of the U.S., plus the top two from the 2015 Worlds — Canadian Shawn Barber and German Raphael Holzdeppe.

All of these men will be chasing the best outdoor clearance in the world this year, 5.90 meters by 17-year-old Swede Armand Duplantis, a Louisiana high schooler who is not in Shanghai.

Men’s 800m — 7:42 a.m. ET

Two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha races for the first time since September. He’ll be looking for a better outing in Shanghai than a year ago, when he faded to fifth after being caught off-guard by the starter’s gun.

Rudisha faces no other Olympic medalists in the Shanghai field, but it does include 2015 World silver medalist Adam Kszczot of Poland. Plus, both Kenyans who made the 2015 World and 2016 Olympic finals with Rudisha.

U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, who is not in the Shanghai field, has the fastest time in the world this year of 1:43.60.

Women’s 100m — 8:11 a.m. ET

This field includes five of the eight Olympic finalists, headlined by the gold and silver medalists Thompson and Bowie. The winner between them becomes the early favorite for the world championships in August.

Potential Shanghai spoilers include Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Men’s 110m hurdles — 8:53 a.m. ET

A total of 20 men in history have broken 13 seconds in the 110m hurdles. Six of them are in Shanghai. It is slated to be the first time six men with sub-13 times already to their name race a 110m hurdles. Shanghai had a field of six sub-13 men last year, but two of them false started out.

It features the last two Olympic champions — Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt — the last two world champions — Russian Sergey Shubenkov and American David Oliver — and Olympic medalists Hansle Parchment (Jamaica) and Orlando Ortega (Spain).

Shanghai has different meanings for different men. McLeod is already two tenths faster than any other man in the world this year. He’s looking to cement his world championships favorite status.

Ortega, after taking silver to McLeod in Rio, beat the Jamaican at their last Diamond League meeting last summer. He could be the most worthy challenger.

Shubenkov hasn’t competed internationally since 2015 due to Russia’s track and field ban. Merritt, Oliver and Parchment are all looking for bounce-back seasons after missing the Rio Olympics.

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Reports: Hurdler Orlando Ortega deserts Cuban team, whereabouts unknown

Orlando Ortega
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Cuban sprint hurdler Orlando Ortega disappeared after missing the 110-meter hurdles final at the World Track and Field Championships last week, according to Cuban and Russian reports.

Ortega, who placed sixth at the 2012 Olympics, has already been ruled out becoming a naturalized Russian, the president of the Russian athletics federation said.

“The Russian Athletics Federation is not interested in Ortega’s services as an athlete,” Valentin Balakhnichev told R-Sport. “I have no information about the location of Ortega, as we haven’t received any requests from him. It was his decision to leave his team, and he didn’t return to his homeland and it will weigh upon his conscience.”

Ortega, 22, was suspended by the Cuban track and field federation earlier this summer for “indiscipline,” but that six-month ban was lifted before the World Championships. He owns the third-fastest time in the world this year behind world champion David Oliver and Olympic bronze medalist Hansle Parchment.

Cuba’s most famous track and field athlete, Dayron Robles, the 2008 Olympic champion in the 110-meter hurdles, was similarly banned earlier this year and did not compete at worlds.

Robles had said in January he would no longer compete for Cuba, and his coach said the same month that Robles would retire due to lack of attention from Cuban officials, though Robles went on to enter competitions in July.

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