Thompson-Herah lead Olympic champion line-ups for Puerto Rico Classic

The Olympic 100m hurdles champion and world leader with 12.39 will not have an easy race on her hands

Thompson-Herah lead Olympic champion line-ups for Puerto Rico Classic

Dozens of Olympic and world medallists are to star at the Puerto Rico International Athletics Classic, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver meeting, at the Francisco Montaner Stadium in Ponce on Thursday.

Among them is Puerto Rico’s own, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn.

The Olympic 100m hurdles champion and world leader with 12.39 will not have an easy race on her hands as she faces this season's world No.2, Tonea Marshall, who has clocked 12.46 and also ran a slightly wind-assisted 12.36 last month.

Also challenging Camacho-Quinn will be her training partner Tia Jones, 2015 world champion Danielle Williams and US indoor record-holder Sharika Nelvis.

"I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to race in front of my people," said Camacho-Quinn. "Victor Lopez and the American Track League have put together an Olympic calibre field right here in Puerto Rico and I can’t wait to put on a show for the home crowd."

Her fellow Olympic champion, the Jamaican sprint great Elaine Thompson-Herah, will be leading the field in the 100m. The challenge for the five-time Olympic gold medallist will come from a deep field of sprinters including double 2021 NCAA champion Cambrea Sturgis, who ran a PB of 10.87 last month in North Carolina.

The men’s 110m hurdles is also expected to be a star-studded event, with a pair of Jamaican Olympic gold medallists battling in a strong field. Tokyo champion Hansle Parchment takes on Omar McLeod, the 2016 Olympic winner, as well as USA's Devon Allen. Allen, who is also an American football player, recently signed to play receiver in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he delays his entry to the NFL training camp to focus first on the track season.

Another event boasting an Olympic gold medallist is the women’s pole vault, featuring 2016 champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, who will take on USA's two-time world indoor champion Sandi Morris. 

USA's two-time Olympic champion and world record-holder Ryan Crouser has been virtually unbeatable in the men's shot put since 2019, with his only defeat coming at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 in March. In 2021 he broke the world record both indoors and outdoors and he seeks another strong performance in Ponce.

The meeting also stages the comeback of USA's two-time Olympic triple jump champion and four-time world gold medallist Christian Taylor, who makes his return after 2021 achilles surgery. Taylor will face his compatriot and long-time competitor Will Claye.

World and Olympic 400m champion Steven Gardiner of The Bahamas will be dropping down to the 300m, while three-time Olympic 400m medallist Kirani James of Grenada will be contesting his primary event, where he expects to be challenged by another Olympic gold medallist, Tokyo 800m winner Emmanuel Korir. 

Another Olympic champion toes the line in the women's event as Athing Mu, the 800m winner in Tokyo, also steps down to the one-lap event to test her speed.

A fierce battle is expected in the men’s 100m, with the fields featuring 11 men who have run under 10 seconds for the event, led by 2021’s fastest man, USA's Trayvon Bromell. The biggest challenges to Bromell will come from his training partner Marvin Bracy and multiple Olympic medallist Yohan Blake.