The women’s 100 meters was an intriguing race. No Shelly, no Elaine, no Sha’Carri but a stellar field. Friday had begun as a balmy, sunny Italian day, but an afternoon thunderstorm had left the track damp and seen the temperature drop by 10 degrees.
Sadly Dina Asher-Smith was a non-starter. Afterward, she assured me it was just a cramp in her calf. Nothing serious, but unwise to take any risks on a cold evening early in the season.
Marie-Josée Ta Lou, with her 10.78 in Clermont last week, seemed a favorite. Gina Luckenkemper is a consistent performer. There were four Americans, Abby Steiner, Jenna Prandini (there must be an Italian ancestor somewhere!), Gabby Thomas, and Morolake Akinosun, who had twice run sub 11 this year. And I was curious to see what Imani Lansiquot could do in a loaded field.
The result was:
1 Marie-Josee Ta Lou 10.97
2 Gina Luckenkemper 11.09
3 Imani Lansiquot 11.16
4 Morolake Akinosun 11.20
5 Abby Steiner 11.23
6 Gabby Thomas 11.27
7 Jenna Prandini 11.33
Afterward, the winner said: “Today, I feel a bit tired because I am jetlagged. The most important thing was the win, and I got it. This season, my main goal is to win every time I stand on the track. I am focused and want to show what I have learned in my training. I try to take every race as a journey to become the best. I know what I have to do in each race, but the key thing is always the training. It is important to be mentally ready, and I am feeling good – I trust my team and am confident”. Don’t you love it when an athlete wins a race, runs a great time on difficult times, and then tells you she is tired and jetlagged? Otherwise, she would have run a really good race!
[Two days later, she won in 10.82 in Poland].
Imani Lansiquot ran an excellent race for third. Now 25, she had run 11.17 as a teenager, and this season has recorded 11.06, 11.03, and a windy 11.00. She told me: “I’m coming off PBs a couple of days ago, and to hold my place in that field is really good. With my new Coach, Ryan Freckleton, we’re just focusing on finding that junior that was in me a few years ago. This year I just want to be the best version of myself that I can day. I didn’t expect to be so fast so soon, but that will give me confidence for the rest of the season”. Already a sprint relay medallist in Europeans, Worlds, and Olympics, this could be her year to make her mark individually.