Britain's Sember wins 100m hurdles at Drake Relays

Washington (AFP) –


Britain's Cindy Sember won a world-class women's 100-meter hurdles showdown Saturday at the Drake Relays while four-time defending champion and world record-holder Keni Harrison fell at the second hurdle.

Sember, who has battled back from a ruptured Achilles tendon, surged late to win in 12.57 seconds with American Christina Clemons second in 12.59 and Britain's Tiffany Porter, Sember's sister, third in 12.80.

"The journey has been a long road, but I'm very blessed to get back to where I knew I could be," Sember said. "My focus wasn't the best today but I kept focused to the end of the race and that really helped me."

Sember, who finished fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was two lanes over from US standout Harrison, who struck the first hurdle with her trail leg and ran into the second hurdle before tumbling to the track.

She did not finish but rose and walked off apparently uninjured.

American Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 runner-up attempting a 100 hurdles comeback at 36 after having a baby, was seventh on 13.28 in her 2021 debut.

"I'm here to prove it's possible to be a mother and be out here," she said. "I'm not too pleased with the time but I'm happy to be out here."

About 2,800 spectators -- about 20% of Drake Stadium capacity at Des Moines, Iowa -- were allowed to attend under local Covid-19 safety protocols.

Reigning Olympic champion Ryan Crouser won the shot put with a heave of 21.93m, the best in the world this year. He has not lost since finishing second at the 2019 worlds.

Daniel Roberts, the 2019 US champion, won the men's 110 hurdles in 13.39 with Aaron Mallett second in 13.41 and Jamal Britt third to complete a US podium sweep in 13.45, edging Shane Braithwaite of Barbados by 0.003 of a second.

"I was really focused on attacking and that's what I did," Roberts said. "I feel like I'm fast and I'm strong. The only thing now is to be a better hurdler."

Two-time world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks, who took bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won his speciality by clearing a 2021 world-best height of 5.86m on his final attempt. Fellow American Chris Nilsen was second on 5.80, the Olympic qualifying standard.

American Sandi Morris, who took the Rio Olympic silver medal, won the women's pole vault by clearing 4.70m.

American Clayton Murphy, who took a bronze medal at 800m at the 2016 Olympics, won the men's 1,500 in 3:39.12 with Canada's Charles Philibert-Thiboutot second on 3:39.34.

"It was tough to get back to the line but it was nice to feel that way," Murphy said. "It's April. We'll chip away at it day after day and continue to grind."

- Wins for Brazil, Panama -

Gianna Woodruff set a Panamanian national record by winning the women's 400 hurdles in 55.02, the fastest time in the world this year and a personal best by .58 of a second.

"I'm definitely very excited," she said. "It's nice to see all my hard work finally pay off."

Brazil's Alison Dos Santos, the 2019 Pan American Games champion, won the men's 400 hurdles in 48.15, a personal best and the fastest time in the world this year, with American Kenny Selmon second on 48.87.

American Kendell Williams, a 2016 Rio Olympian in the heptathlon, won the women's long jump with a leap of 6.54m to edge Canada's Christabel Nettey on 6.50.