Jasmine Todd, of Chandler and the University of Oregon, captured the final spot in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the IAAF World Championships, joining Americans English Gardner and Tori Bowie. A time of 11.29 in Sunday’s first round tied her with Ramona Papaioannou of Cyprus and sent her into the final of three heats of eight runners Monday night in Beijing.
“I felt comfortable enough with my position to shut it down and not use up too much energy trying to make it into the final,” the 21-year-old Todd said. “It’s amazing, it gives me good prep going into an Olympic year.”
Gardner is trying to crack the podium after placing fourth in 2013. The 23-year-old from New Jersey, who also is a former Oregon Duck, ran 11.16 in the first round.
“It wasn’t at it’s best, so with that being said, I have to work a little bit,” said Gardner, whose personal best is 10.79 seconds. “At my first Championships in 2013, I was kind of like a loose cannon, I went out in 10.92, and I was like a little kid in a candy store. This time, I’m trying to be a little more mature, and I think it worked out a little bit.”
It was U.S. champion Tori Bowie, however, who set a new record for the first round at a World Championships at 10.88.
“Today, I wanted to stay relaxed,” said Bowie, who turns 25 later in the week. “My main goal was to execute the first 20 meters of the race because everyone knows it’s my weakness, and I’ve worked really hard the past two weeks to try and correct it.”
BREAKING DOWN THE CONTENDERS
With victories in 2009 and 2013, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 28, of Jamaica can break her tie with Marion Jones (1997 and 1999) to become the first woman with three World 100-meter titles. She placed fourth at Daegu in 2011, and she also won the 200 in Moscow. Not to mention, she is the two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist, beginning on this track in 2008. She tied Bowie with the fastest time in the first round (10.88), and her personal best is 10.70.
Sixth in the first round was 33-year-old Veronica Campbell-Brown, the 2007 world champion in the 100 at Osaka. VCB has nine career World Championship medals, and one Monday will tie her with Allyson Felix for second-most all-time behind Merlene Ottey (14). She won the bronze medal in the Olympic 100 in 2004 and 2012.
Murielle Ahoure of Cote d’Ivoire won silver medals in both the 100 and 200 in 2013 and ran a 10.81 earlier this season, but her countrywoman Marie-Josee Ta Lou was third in the first round at 10.95 seconds.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye was fourth in the first round at 10.98. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands won the European Championship last year and was fifth Sunday morning at 11.01 seconds.
Sherone Simpson tied Kerron Stewart for the silver medal at the Bird’s Nest in the 2008 Olympics. The 31-year-old Simpson’s only 100-meter World final came in 2005, where she was sixth. Natasha Morrison, 22, is the fourth Jamaican in the field.
Commonwealth Games champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria was sixth in 2013 and fifth in 2011. Wei Yongli of China will be the crowd’s favorite Monday, after the Asian Games champion ran a personal best 11.28 in the first round.