July 22, 2018 / 5:42 PM / in 3 months

Don't compare me to Bolt says Jamaica's latest sprint hope

LONDON (Reuters) - Akeem Bloomfield announced himself as the latest “next big thing” from Jamaica when he broke 20 seconds for the first time to win the London Diamond League 200 meters on Sunday but immediately played down any comparison with Usain Bolt.

Athletics - Diamond League - London Anniversary Games - The London Stadium, London, Britain - July 22, 2018 Jamaica's Akeem Bloomfield celebrates winning the Men's 200m Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

The 20-year-old, who won over 400 metres in Rabat two weeks ago, ran a controlled bend out in lane eight before pouring on the power to come home in 19.81 seconds - smashing his previous best of 20.00.

Panama’s Alonso Edward was second in 20.01 with Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez (20.13) edging out home favorites Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Adam Gemili.

“I’m very happy with the time because that is phenomenal,” said Bloomfield,” who laughed off the inevitable Bolt comparisons.

“I don’t think anyone can ever surpass Usain Bolt and I don’t think he should be compared with mere mortals like me,” he said. “If I accomplish even half of what he did it would be an amazing achievement.”

There was an impressive 1-2 for the United States in the women’s event as Jenna Prandini (22.16) just held off fast-finishing Gabrielle Thomas (22.19) - both lifetime bests.

“This crowd is amazing and it’s a fast track,” said Prandini I’ve been working on focusing on my race and my lane.”

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, normally a 5,000m specialist, became the third-fastest woman ever over the now-rarely run mile as she surged clear to win in four minutes, 14.71 seconds.

Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir produced a devastating run to win a rapid 800 metres in 1:42.05, making him the sixth-fastest man ever over two laps.

Clayton Murphy of the United States was second in 1:43.12 while Nijel Amos showed the effects of his 1:42.15 winning run in Monaco on Friday as he faded to fourth.

“I’m happy because that is a huge performance for me,” said Korir. “My personal best I set last year and I wanted to break that maybe next year but I managed that earlier than planned. It’s important to beat those guys because they’re all really strong.”

American Olympic champion Matt Centrowitz took the 1500m in 3:35.22 while Jamaica’s Ronald Levy won the 110 hurdles in 13.13 ahead of American Devon Allen in 13.30.

South African Luvo Manyonga, who won the world title in London two years ago, produced another a superb series of leaps, peaking with 8.58 metres, to win the long jump.

There was a remarkable performance in the women’s high jump where Italian Elena Vallortigara, who arrived with a personal best of 1.96 metres, not only cleared two metres for the first time but then went over 2.02.

It was still only enough for second, however, behind Russian neutral athlete Mariya Lasitskene, as the double world champion cleared 2.04.

Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Toby Davis

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