Wilson speeds to Swiss 200m record of 19.98 in La Chaux-de-Fonds

Alex Wilson
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Switzerland's Alex Wilson broke the 20 second-barrier for the first time in his career with a European-leading 19.98 in La Chaux-de-Fonds on Sunday afternoon

After winning bronze in the 200m at the European Championships last summer in 20.04, Switzerland’s Alex Wilson would have left Berlin determined to go faster – with breaking the 20-second barrier surely on his horizon. 

No longer is it in his sights after a sensational afternoon on home soil at the Resisprint in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a European Athletics Classic Permit Meeting, on Sunday (30).

Making the most of the hot conditions and the benign 992-metre elevation in western Switzerland, Wilson broke both his 100m and 200m national records - the latter by winning in 19.98. After moving to equal tenth on the European all-time list, he warned: “I have not started the actual speed training yet.”

His 200m performance in La Chaux-de-Fonds not only sent him to the top of the European list ahead of reigning world and European champion Ramil Guliyev’s early season 19.99 but also eighth on the 2019 world list. 

This was his third race of the meeting having started his campaign by clocking a season’s best of 10.18 in the heats of the 100m. This was followed by his first national record of the day, clocking 10.08 in the final to lower his Swiss record from 10.11 to finish second to Antigua’s Cejhae Green in 10.07.

Just under two hours later, he left his opposition trailing in the 200m in 19.98 ahead of Zambia’s Sydney Siame (20.16) with Italy’s European finalist Eseosa Desalu third in 20.26. 

What a platform this will be for sprinter who turns 29 in September, just a week before the IAAF World Championships in Doha begins. 

Re improves Italian 400m record of 44.77; Jodie Williams sets 400m PB of 51.22

Swiss soil has been particularly kind to Davide Re this season as he became the first Italian in history to break the 45 second-barrier for the 400m. 

Re has already been credited with one Italian record this season, breaking Matteo Galvan’s mark with 45.01 in Geneva a fortnight ago. 

Re came tantalisingly close to the 45 second-barrier in that race and the 26-year-old forged through that mark in La Chaux-de-Fonds yesterday, stopping the clock at 44.77 to not only take a big chunk off his recently set record but to also extend his advantage at the top of the 2019 European list.

Jodie Williams has won European U20 titles over 100m and 200m and the Brit demonstrated her range extends all the way up to the 400m. She was the fastest across the six races with a lifetime best of 51.22 to move to third on the 2019 European list behind Poles Justyna Swiety-Ersetic (50.85) and Iga Baumgart-Witan (51.12).

At the time of writing, Williams is ranked seventh on the 2019 European list in the 100m (11.17), sixth in the 200m (22.92) and third in the 400m. 

In the women’s 100m, teammate Imani Lansiquot smashed her 100m personal best to move up to fourth on the national all-time list behind Dina Asher-Smith (10.85), Montell Douglas (11.05) and Desiree Henry (11.06). 

No wonder she tweeted a video of her dancing in delight as she ran 11.09 for third behind South Africa’s Tebogo Mamatu, who won in 11.04, from China’s Yongli Wei who was credited with the same time.

Hussein’s comeback gathers pace 

Even though he did not win, Wilson’s Swiss teammate Kariem Hussein, the 2014 European champion, would have reason to be pleased with his afternoon’s work as he finished fourth in the 400m hurdles in 49.74. 

It was the first time since his return from injury that he has gone under 50 seconds – in fact the first time since August 2017. Brazilian teenager Alison Santos won a competitive race in 49.27 ahead of Germans Joshua Abuakua (49.49) and Luke Campbell (49.56) with Hussein fourth in 49.74. 

From the 2014 European men’s 400m hurdles champion in Hussein, to his Swiss teammate Lea Sprunger who won gold in the same event in Berlin last summer. She was third this time in 55.74 as Jamaica’s Nikita Tracey won in 54.90 ahead of Poland’s Joanna Linkiewicz in second in 55.43.

In a separate race, Denmark’s Sara Slott Petersen, who preceded Sprunger as the European champion in the event, won in a season's best of 55.45 from Germany’s Jackie Baumann in 56.43. 

Lithuania’s Diana Zagainova has established herself as the favourite for the European U23 title in Gavle next week. Having just turned 22, Zagainova bounded out to a national record of 14.43m - the best mark in her age-group in Europe this year.

Full results here.