Rio Olympic rematches spice Drake Relays
Chicago (AFP) – Reigning Olympic champions Omar McLeod, Derek Drouin and Christian Taylor will risk their bragging rights Saturday in “Rio Rematches” to highlight the 108th Drake Relays at Des Moines, Iowa.
Jamaica’s McLeod will face 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt of the United States in a men’s 110m hurdles showcase while Canadian high jumper Drouin and US 2012 and 2016 Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor will be challenged by Rio rivals in feature events.
And Grenada’s Kirani James, the 2012 Olympic men’s 400 champion who was second at Rio, will face Rio bronze medalist LaShawn Merritt and two of his Rio 4×400 relay gold teammates, Tony McQuay and David Verburg, in the 400.
In all, 10 Olympic champions, 30 medalists and 68 Olympians will compete in the meet.
Other Olympic gold medalists include Americans Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Beijing champion and 2012 London runner-up in the women’s 100 hurdles, and Brittney Reese, the 2012 winner and 2016 runner-up in the women’s long jump.
McLeod set a meet record at 13.08 seconds last year before capturing Olympic gold in 13.05. Oliver, the stadium record-holder at 12.93, was second last year to McLeod at Drake while Merritt was fifth.
McLeod will also face Rio Olympians Andrew Riley of Jamaica, Andrew Pozzi of Britain and Johnathan Cabral of Canada.
Drouin’s rivals from Rio include countryman Mike Mason and Jamal Wilson of the Bahamas while Taylor’s foes from last August include Guyana’s Troy Doris and Bahamian Leevan Sands.
The men’s 1,500 offers 2012 Olympic runner-up Leo Manzano against Rio bronze medalist Clayton Murphy while the women’s 1,500 has American Jenny Simpson, third in Rio, facing Portugal’s Marta Freitas, Canada’s Nicole Sifuentes and American Brenda Martinez from last year’s Brazil field.
Women’s 100 hurdles world record-holder Keni Harrison, who set the mark of 12.20 seconds last July at London, will defend her Drake crown against a lineup featuring US-born British 2016 Olympians Tiffany Porter and Cindy Ofili plus Americans Harper-Nelson and Rio bronze medalist Kristi Castlin.