Track and FieldNews

Roommates Daniel Roberts and Marquis Dendy Nab Victories; U.S. Sprinters Finish Top 3

by Brian Pinelli

Daniel Roberts celebrates after winning the men's 110-meter hurdles at the 2024 IAAF Diamond League meeting on April 27, 2024 in Suzhou, China. (Photo by Getty Images)

The men’s 100m was billed as an early season showdown between U.S. sprinting stars and fellow world champions Christian Coleman and Fred Kerley

Sha’Carri Richardson was also a featured attraction in the women’s 200m, the marquee races on the Wanda Diamond League program on Saturday night, in Suzhou, China.

In a thrilling 100m, Akani Simbine surged over the closing meters to upset Coleman and Kerley. The South African clocked 10.01 seconds, just a hair ahead of Coleman’s 10.04, while Kerley finished in 10.11.

“I could have executed better, but I feel like I improved from last week and did some things better with my start today,” said Coleman, who won the season-opening 100m in 10.13, last weekend in Xiamen. “I feel like mission accomplished coming over here, having two races, now we can go back, look at the film, train, and continue progress.”

Like her male counterparts, the 2023 double world champion, Sha’Carri Richardson, missed out on victory in the women’s 200m, letting off the gas approaching the finish and settling for third. Anavia Battle snatched second place, in a field including five Americans.

The U.S. sprinters were beaten by Great Britain’s Daryll Neita, who unleashed a blistering performance, clocking a season-best 22.62 seconds. Her time was nearly four-tenths faster than Battle (22.99) and almost a half-second quicker than Richardson (23.11).

“The race went really well and I did everything I was supposed to do compared to the last one (in Xiamen),” said Battle, ranked 14th in the world entering the race. “I executed everything my coach asked me to.”

Noah Lyles did not compete in China, but sped to a 100m victory at the USATF Bermuda Grand Prix on Sunday. The 2023 triple world champion won easily in a wind-aided 9.96 seconds.

U.S. roommates in China Daniel Roberts and Marquis Dendy delivered inspiring performances, winning the men’s 110m hurdles and long jump, respectively.

In the final event of the evening, Roberts led straight out of the blocks and maintained his lead to triumph in 13.12 seconds. It was the second victory in as many weeks for the 25-year-old bronze medalist at the 2023 world championships in Budapest. 

“It’s always good to get wins and build confidence early on, especially with a field like this,” Roberts said, about a race including Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Hansle Parchment of Jamaica. “It wasn’t the cleanest race, I clipped a few (hurdles), but I was able to run a solid time and get the W.” 

With a touch of flash and flamboyance, while sporting a black and yellow baseball cap worn backwards, Dendy soared to victory in the long jump at 8.05m. Dendy’s second round mark narrowly held up as Chinese fan favorites Wang Jianan and Shi Yuhao posted 8.04m and 7.99m, for second and third. 

Marquis Dendy competes during the men's long jump finals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Aug. 24, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.G (Photo by Getty Images)

“My roommate Daniel Roberts also won the 110m hurdles tonight,” Dendy proudly informed. “I wanted to brush up on my technique today and I mainly did that. It has been a good start to the season.”

The 31-year-old former University of Florida standout – who eats pizza with pineapple every night before competitions – expressed his lofty goals for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

“This is just one step and I’ve got to keep honing my craft leading into the Olympic Games. I want that gold medal (in Paris).

“I know that I can jump 8.40m and 8.50m,” Dendy said, his PB at 8.42m from 2018. “I just need to stay healthy and in one piece.”

Alabama’s Quanesha Burks finished runner-up in women’s long jump final, with a mark of 6.59m, only short of Marthe Koale’s 6.69m winning distance.

Chasing Armand “Mondo” Duplantis in the pole vault is one unenviable task. The Swedish-American pole vault sensation – one week after setting his eighth world record at 6.24m (20 ft. 5 ½) – once again starred in China.

After Duplantis secured the win at 5.92m, and then clearing 6.00m, he took three attempts at a world record height of 6.25m (20ft. 6in.). Mondo’s third try was valiant, barely knocking the crossbar off with his right arm.

The 2017 and 2019 world champion Sam Kendricks tied for second with Belgium’s Ben Broeders, both vaulters clearing 5.82m.

“I was really excited to be back at this meet for the first time since 2018,” Kendricks said. “Tonight, we knew we were some ways behind Mondo, but in the future I will definitely be aiming to challenge him and improve my performance.”

Tokyo 2020 and Budapest 2023 world championships silver medalist Christopher Nilsen was sixth, while his American teammate Jacob Wooten took fourth, both jumping 5.72m, but rankings determined by misses.

Valarie Allman competes during the women's discus at the 2023 Prefontaine Classic on Sept. 17, 2023 in Eugene, Ore. (Photo by Getty Images)

Chalk up victories for Valarie Allman in the discus and Chase Jackson in the shot put as the U.S. women demonstrated their power in their favored throwing disciplines. 

Allman – the Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion and two-time world championships medalist – won the discus with a season best throw of 6.86m in the fifth round. However, her opening toss of 68.11m would have stood up victory.

“I’ve enjoyed an awesome trip in China – conditions were good today and it has been very motivating,” Allman said. “My technique was a little bit off today, so to still get the win was very encouraging.”

The two-time world champion Jackson uncorked a season-best shot of 20.03m in the second round to defeat Canadian Sarah Mitton, whose 19.84m heave garnered second place.

Fresh off a second-place 100m result and victory over back-to-back weekends in China, Coleman is excited to return Stateside and perfect his form this Olympic season.

“Just getting better with each race – definitely doing some more 200m and working on the speed endurance,” Coleman said, asked about keys to success prior to the Suzhou meet.

“I think when we taper things off, we’ll get better and better, faster and faster,” said the 28-year-old, referring to upcoming training and less competitions.

The three-time world champion from Atlanta emphatically stresses that he is nowhere close to peak form.

“Definitely not, I know that I have so much more to do,” said the elite sprinter. “The plan coming over here was just to be able to race and execute while we still have a little bit of a load on our legs. 

“Now, going back, I think things will continue to progress. I feel good about it.”

Coleman will aim to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in both the men’s 100m and 200m events.

The 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field will be contested at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, June 21-30.