Fred Kerley To Open In 100m At Seiko Golden Grand Prix

Tokyo Olympic silver medalist and 2019 world champion Fred Kerley will be the featured attraction when the World Athletics Continental Tour rolls into Yokohama, Japan for the 2023 Seiko Golden Grand Prix on Sunday.

This race will serve as the 100m season opener for Kerley, who looked impressive over the 200m distance at the Diamond League meeting in Doha on May 5, winning in 19.92.

Kerley was initially slated to compete against fellow American Michael Norman, the reigning 400m world champion, who indicated he would be following in Kerley's career footsteps and dropping down to the 100m this year. Norman is instead competing at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix.

This race will serve as Kerley's tune-up for two highly-anticipated 100m showdowns against reigning Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy. After the two called each other out on Twitter earlier this spring, most figured they would need to wait until the World Championships in Budapest this summer for the score to be settled, but the two will square off head-to-head on the Diamond League circuit, first in Rabat, Morocco  on May 28 and then five days later in Florence, Italy on June 2.

Kerley's main competition in Yokohama figures to come from Japan's Yoshihide Kiryu, Rohan Browning and Jake Doran of Australia, and Chun-Han Yang of Taiwan. Kiryu has seven races under his belt already this year with a season-best of 10.03. Browning ran his season-best of 10.02 in April.

Jamaica's Briana Williams is the race favorite in the women's 100m. Williams, part of Jamaica's Olympic gold-medal winning 4x100m pool, clocked a modest 11.34 in her season-opener in Kingston on April 22. She will face rising Zoe Hobbs of New Zealand among others.

American Tonea Marshall figures to be the woman to beat in the 100m hurdles, coming in with a season-best of 12.61 from the Drake Relays on April 29. Stiff competition is expected from the defending champion Mako Fukube of Japan, who set the national record of 12.73 last year.

Back to thrill the local fans in the men's 3000m steeplechase will be Ryuji Miura, the Japanese record holder in the event. Miura used his victory in this meet in 2022 as a springboard to a fourth-place finish in the Diamond League final in Zurich later in the summer.

Japan's Nozomi Tanaka is the expected featured racer in the women's 1500m. Tanaka, who competed across the 800, 1500m and 5000m at the World Championships last summer, finished third in 3000m at the Continental Tour opener in Melbourne.

Headlining the field events will be Australia's two-time world champion and Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Kelsey-Lee Barber taking on Japan's Haruka Kitaguchi, the 2022 world bronze medalist, in the women's javelin. This will be the outdoor opener for Barber while Kitaguchi owns the current world lead in the event at 64.50m/211-7.

The men's long jump will see world champion Wang Jianan of China as the alpha in the field, while Korea's world indoor champion Woo Sanghyeok competes against world indoor bronze medalist Hamish Kerr of New Zealand in the men's high jump.

Australia's Brooke Buschkuehl, owner of a personal-best of 7.13m/23-4.75, is among the presumptive favorites in the women's long jump.