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Shericka Jackson and Gabby Thomas face-off in Monaco today Loop Jamaica

Jamaica’s world champion Shericka Jackson and US champion Gabby Thomas, the two fastest 200m sprinters of the season, are set to compete head-to-head on Friday at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco at 2:20 pm Jamaica time.

This event takes place less than a month before the World Athletics Championships begin in Budapest, Hungary.

For several titleholders, the ninth leg of the Wanda Diamond League presents a crucial opportunity to earn points and secure their place in the series final, scheduled for September 16 and 17 in Eugene.

Jackson, the Jamaican star, kicked off her Diamond League campaign in May with a meeting record in the 200m event in Rabat. Another victory in Monaco would virtually ensure her spot in the final. Jackson emerged as the Diamond Trophy winner for the first time last year and has remained the woman to beat in the half-lap event in 2023.

The clash between Jackson and Thomas promises to be significant. US Olympic bronze medalist Thomas currently holds the world-leading time of 21.60 seconds. She accomplished the remarkable feat at the U.S. track and field championships on July 9, beating Sha’Carri Richardson and securing the best time globally. This impressive performance outpaced the earlier mark of 21.71 set by Jackson during the Jamaica trials in Kingston.

Last season, the 26-year-old Thomas faced challenges due to a hamstring injury. The race also features prominent contenders like Britain’s Daryll Neita and Dina Asher-Smith, along with US college star Julien Alfred of St Lucia, one of the most exciting young sprint talents worldwide.

Five other Jamaican athletes will be in action at the Wanda Diamond League meeting.

The men’s 100m event adds an African flair, featuring the top three sprinters from the sub-Sahara region: Akani Simbine of South Africa (coming off a win in Silesia), Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala, and Botswana’s world U20 champion Letsile Tebogo. However, the Jamaican trio of Yohan Blake, Ackeem Blake, and Kishane Thompson, as well as USA’s Courtney Lindsey, are expected to challenge them.

Furthermore, the men’s triple jump competition is garnering significant interest, with 18-year-old Jamaican revelation Jaydon Hibbert (the current world leader with 17.87m this year) taking on the world and Olympic medallist Hugues Fabrice Zango and Cuba’s world indoor champion Lazaro Martinez.

The Wanda Diamond League stands as the premier one-day meeting series in athletics, comprising 14 of the most prestigious events in global track and field. Athletes compete in the 13 series meetings to earn points, aiming to qualify for the two-day Wanda Diamond League Final.

Schedule for Jamaicans