TOKYO, Japan — Marie-Josee Ta Lou ran a blistering 10.78 seconds (-0.3m/s), the fastest ever 100m heat time in Olympic history to lead the qualifiers into the semifinals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games here at the Olympic Stadium on Friday (30).
The previous fastest 100m opening round Olympic times were the 10.88s and the 10.83s by Florence Griffith-Joyner at Seoul 1988 and Carmelita Jeter at London 2012, respectively.
The performance from the Ivory Coast sprinter Ta Lou saw her matching the African record and established a new personal best and national record as well. The African 100m record was set by her fellow Ivorian compatriot Murielle Ahoure.
Also dipping under 11-seconds in that heat was Great Britain’s Daryll Neita who also ran a PB of 10.96.
Smooth Thompson-Herah Advances
Meanwhile, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica clocked 10.82 seconds (+0.1m/s) to win her heat, a time that was the quickest ever in the 100m heat prior to Ta Lou hitting the track.
Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland ran 10.95s for second place behind Thompson-Herah to secure her place in the semifinals.
World leader and two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica was just as impressive as those who ran in the earlier heat, clocking 10.84s (+1.3m/s) and taking her foot off the gas halfway into the contest.
Ajla Del Ponte finished second to Fraser-Pryce on her way to posting a new Swiss national record of 10.91s, while Nigerian Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha clocked a personal best of 11.00s for third place.
Other heat winners on the day were American Teahna Daniels who ran 11.04 to beat Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (11.07), Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye who did 11.06s to edge Shericka Jackson of Jamaica (11.07), with Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria (11.04) and Germany’s Alexandra Burghardt also winning their respective heats.
All three Jamaicans and the three Americans advanced to the semis.