The women’s 400 metres hurdles line-up for the 2013 Cayman Invitational holds promise for an epic battle, writes track coach Jerry Harper.
Four returnees from last year’s inaugural event will be back to determine whether Ajoke Odumosu, who edged Tiffany Williams, 55.09 seconds to 55.14secs, can repeat her triumph on 8 May at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
Odomuso, from Nigeria, competed for the University of South Alabama. She competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and London in 2012, where she lowered her personal best to 54.40secs for a national record in the semi-finals.
Her -victories include gold performances at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, All Africa Games in 2011, and at the African Championships in 2008 as a member of the Nigerian 4×400 metres relay squad.
Tiffany Williams grew up in Miami and took part in the Northwest Express Classic on several occasions. At the University of South Carolina she was a 15-time All-American and won the South Eastern Conference title three years in a row.
She was the leading 400m hurdler in the United States in 2007 and 2008. Her personal best of 53.28secs was set in 2007 and she competed in the Beijing Olympics.
She took maternity leave in 2010 and did not have a great season upon her return in 2011. A fourth-place finish at the US Olympic Trials denied her a trip to London last year.
Jamaica’s Shevon Stoddart clocked 57.01secs for fourth place at the 2012 Cayman Invitational. She and Tiffany Williams rank high on the list of the many 400m hurdlers who enjoyed outstanding collegiate results for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Stoddart is a two-time Olympian, having competed in Athens and Beijing and claims a personal best of 54.47secs. She was a participant at the 2005 World Championships and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Ristananna Tracey is one of the newest members of the large group of world class 400m hurdlers who have represented Jamaica internationally. Her time of 57.83secs at last year’s Cayman Invitational earned her sixth place.
Liberia’s Kou Lougon competed on the collegiate level for the University of Minnesota before transferring to the University of Alabama. On the international scene she has participated in the World Outdoor Championships in 2005 and 2009, the World Indoor Championships in 2010, the African Championships in 2006 and the All Africa Games in 2011.
Canadian Sarah-Lynn Wells won the 400m hurdles at the National Championships last year and followed that performance she reached the semi-finals at the London Olympics, where she posted a time of 56.47secs.
Victory is up for grabs by any one of these talented competitors. The one lap circuit should be fast, furious and exciting.