‘I was in tears’ - Africa’s fastest woman wowed by support from Jamaicans

Ivorian sprinter Marie Josee Ta Lou-Smith. Photo: Imago

‘I was in tears’ - Africa’s fastest woman wowed by support from Jamaicans

Joel Omotto 19:39 - 12.05.2024

The Ivorian sprinter has expressed her shock at the kind of love she received in Kingston during the Jamaica Athletics Invitational on Saturday.

Africa’s fastest woman Marie Josee Ta Lou-Smith has explained how she got emotional from the love shown to her by Jamaican fans.

Ta Lou-Smith powered to a Season's Best (SB) of 10.91s to win the women's 100m at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational in Kingston on Saturday, an event that attracted global athletics stars both on and off the track.

She finished ahead of a brilliant Krystal Sloley of Jamaica, who ran a Personal Best of 11.09, and compatriot Kemba Nelson, who clocked 11.12.

Fans showered the Ivorian sprinter with love and observers were quick to point out how quickly the Jamaicans embraced her despite her track rivalry with their own athletes.

“The love our good sis MaJo [Marie Josee] gets from Jamaicans is just a grace to witness,” observed a fan.

The sprinter then replied: “For sure bro, it was like a dream, I was in tears. I am still emotional about yesterday, the love, the support. GOD bless JAMAICA."

Meanwhile, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, who has roots in Jamaica, also received plenty of love from the crowd before she went on to win the 200m.

The 2019 world champion narrowly won the event in a time of 22.51 ahead of the Ivory Coast’s Jessika Gbai (22.53) with Jamaica’s Lanae-Tava Thomas completing the podium in 22.84.

“I’m in really good shape so I was hoping to get a quicker time today. Clearly, I’ve got some stuff that I’ve got to work on so I’m going to go back to Austin and work on them but I’m happy to have won here in Jamaica,” she said.

It was a Britain double in 200m as Zharnel Hughes, the world 100m bronze medallist, produced a season’s best 19.96 to win the men’s race ahead of American Fred Kerley (20.17) and France’s Pablo Mateo (20.20).

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