PARIS, France: Three Jamaicans – Stephenie Ann McPherson, Christine Day and Simone Facey – will be in action when the Meeting de Paris, the 12th of 14 IAAF Diamond League meets, gets underway at the Stade de France in Paris today. McPherson and Day will go in the 400 metres while Facey will line up in the 200 metres. Fans here were eagerly awaiting another clash in the 200m between Diamond League leader Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, who won in a close finish in the Rio de Janeiro finals. However, Thompson, who was an impressive winner in the 100 metres two days ago at the Lausanne Diamond League, has opted out of the meet to go back to her training camp in Italy to prepare for upcoming meets. Schippers should, therefore, have little difficulty in topping the 200 metres and extending her lead for the Diamond Trophy. She should easily defeat Facey, Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who was fourth in Rio, and the likes of American Jenna Prandini, who finished second behind Thompson in the 100m in Lausanne. Despite a sixth-place finish in the women’s 400m in Rio de Janeiro, competing in the one-lap event today will be added motivation for McPherson, who has an outside chance of winning the Diamond Trophy. With race leader, Olympic champion Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas (30 points) missing, McPherson, in second place on 25, could take over the lead with a big performance today. Natasha Hastings of the United States, third on 18, will also be hoping for a win and ten points to make it interesting going into Zurich, where the points for each event are doubled. Following her disappointing run in Rio, Day will be eyeing a return to top form. She is out of Diamond Trophy contention, but will want to end her season on a high. Olympic semi-finalists Oluwakemi Adekoya of Bahrain and home town girl Floria Guai should make the event very competitive. In other female events, runaway Diamond League leader Kendra Harrison, fresh from her win on Thursday in Lausanne, should remain unbeaten in the women’s 100m hurdles, where countrywomen Dawn Harper-Nelson and Jasmine Stowers should once again fight it out for second and third. CLOSE FINISH The men’s 400 metres hurdles could see a close finish, with Olympic champion Kerron Clement the favourite to win. Following his false start in Rio de Janeiro, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson will be hoping for some redemption. Turkey’s Yasmani Capello, the Rio silver medallist, American Michael Tinsley and Kenya’s Nicholas Bett are the other top contenders in the event. After a National record in the men’s 200m in Lausanne, Churandy Martina, who expressed a lot of confidence yesterday, looks set to take the men’s 100 metres, where he will face the likes of veteran Kim Collins of St Kitts and the French duo of Christophe Lamaitre and Jimmy Vicaut. Another athlete who should be looking for a big home performance is pole vaulter Renaud Lavillene, who is coming off two second-place finishes in Rio and Lausanne. The Frenchman will be hoping to turn the tables this time on American Sam Kendricks, who got the better of him two days ago. Jamaicans in action today 1:17 p.m: Christine Day, Stephenie McPherson – Women’s 400m 1:55 p.m: Simone Facey – Women’s 200m.
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