Jackson targets 35-year-old 'Flo-Jo' record in Brussels

athletics07 September 2023 18:17| © AFP
Shericka Jackson © Gallo Images

Shericka Jackson takes aim at Florence Griffith-Joyner's 35-year-old 200m world record at the Brussels Diamond League meeting on Friday where Armand Duplantis hopes for another pole-vault landmark performance.

Jackson was just seven hundredths of a second off Griffith-Joyner's 1988 mark when she captured gold at the world championships in Budapest last month.

"I was so close to it, it would have taken a little wind (0.1 m/s) and I would have beaten it," said the Jamaican sprinter whose time of 21.41 was agonisingly close to the 21.34 set by the polarising 'Flo-Jo'.

On Friday, Jackson believes the conditions in the Belgian capital are perfect to shatter the mark – brand new track and rare "Jamaican weather" of around 28 degrees at 9 p.m.

"I talked about it with my coach, we are so close to the goal," added Jackson, the second fastest woman in history over 200m.

"I hope to beat it tomorrow; otherwise I will have another chance in Eugene (at the Diamond League Finals).

She added: "I've had a few days off since Zurich (the most recent Diamond League event) and physically I feel fresh, my head is ready.

"Tomorrow is supposed to be one of those good days."

Pole vault star Duplantis has attempted to reach 6.23m three times this summer in an effort to break his own world record by one centimetre.

Each time he has been thwarted although his closing two attempts in Zurich left him hopeful of improving his record by the end of the season.

"The more even the surface is and the faster the approach, the higher I can jump," said the Swede on Thursday.


"A new world record of 6.23m? I feel it's possible. But all the pieces of the puzzle have to fit."

"I feel like it's in my power, I know I have it in me. You just have to make the right jump at the right time. I feel good, I have two competitions left, I'm going to do everything I can."

Of his six world records established so far, Duplantis has achieved only one outdoors.

The 23-year-old said he draws "additional motivation" from the fact that in 2022, he experienced his only defeat of the year in Brussels' King Baudouin stadium.

"It's in the back of my mind, I'm not going to lie," said Duplantis of his loss to Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines last season.

"Let's say I have something to prove this year," added the reigning Olympic champion and double world champion.

Also set for a starring role on Friday is Femke Bol who won gold at the worlds in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay after enduring a nightmare start to the championships by falling and dropping the baton as she closed in on the line in the 4x400m mixed relay.

Bol is undefeated in 400m hurdles since 2020, collecting 17 victories with four of those coming this year.

In 2023, she has also set a new world record in the 400m indoors and became the second fastest woman in history in the 400m hurdles by smashing her own European record in 51.45 at the end of July.

"It's never easy at the end of the season, you feel your body getting tired, but at the same time, there's a little less pressure," said Dutchwoman Bol.

"And it's almost a home meeting," added the 23-year-old who will run her 10th 400m hurdles of the summer on Friday.