Apr 302017

CHICAGO, United States: Reigning Olympic 110-meter hurdles champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica ignored cold, wind and rain to run the fastest time in the world this year on Saturday at the 108th Drake Relays.

McLeod defended his title in his specialty with a meet-record 13.04 seconds at Des Moines, Iowa, as part of a series of events dubbed Rio Rematches after last year’s Olympics in Brazil.

McLeod, aided by a 1.8m/sec tailwind, jumped ahead at the start and surged again in the last 40 meters to defeat Britain’s Andrew Pozzi by .20 of a second and lower the meet mark he set last year by .04.

American Aleec Harris was third in 13.37 with US 2012 Olympic champion and world record-holder Aries Merritt fourth in 13.44.

Another reigning Olympic champion, Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin, won his specialty with a clearance of 2.30m.

World 2017 bests were also set in the women’s 100 and 400 hurdles, with American Kendra Harrison winning the shorter race in 12.56 and compatriot Georgeanne Moline taking the longer win in 54.66.

Harrison, who set the world record of 12.20 last July at London, defended her Drake title to lead a US 100 hurdles podium sweep with Jasmin Stowers second in 12.76 and 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson third in 12.79.

Moline won the 400 hurdles by .06 over compatriot Kori Carter with Jamaica’s Leah Nugent in 55.94. American Ashley Spencer, third in the Rio Olympics, fell after she clipped a backstretch hurdle with her trail leg and did not finish.

Britain’s Lorraine Ugen won the women’s long jump by clearing 6.49m despite rain and crosswinds, edging Nigeria’s Esa Brume who cleared the same height.

American Brittney Reese, the 2012 Olympic champion and 2016 runner-up, was third at 6.27. She passed on her last four attempts in the poor conditions.

Ugen was third at last year’s world indoors and second in this year’s European indoors.

Rio Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy won the 1,500 in 3:41.75 while fellow American Sam Kendricks, who also finished third in Brazil last year, took the men’s pole vault with a 5.80m clearance.

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