BATON ROUGE – Just one day after signing his first professional contract with Nike on Friday, LSU’s Damar Forbes won the men’s long jump title in his IAAF Diamond League debut on Saturday afternoon when he soared a distance of 26 feet, 7 ¼ inches on his second jump at the Meeting Areva held at the Stadium of France in Paris.
After fouling his first jump, Forbes took the lead with a jump of 26-7 ¼ (-0.2) on his second attempt to take a narrow lead over Great Britain’s Chris Tomlinson (26-6 ¼) after two rounds.
Forbes also bested Tomlinson in the third round with his second-best jump of the day at 26-6 ½ as he finished the competition with the two farthest jumps of the afternoon. Tomlinson scored the silver medal with his best of 26-6 ¼, while Greece’s Louis Tsatoumas took home the bronze medal with a series-best of 26-3 ¾ for third place overall.
Forbes, the SEC Outdoor and NCAA Outdoor champion in the long jump for 2013, also took Saturday’s Diamond League title over reigning Olympic gold medalist Greg Rutherford of Great Britain as the champion of the London Games trailed in fourth place in the final standings managed a best of 26-2 ¾ in the second round while reportedly competing with a hamstring injury.
Forbes is proving himself as a medal contender at the World Championships later this summer as he ranks No. 9 worldwide with a personal best of 27-0 ¾ set at the Jamaican Senior Championships on June 22.
Joining Forbes at the Meeting Areva in Paris on Saturday was Kelly-Ann Baptiste as the former Lady Tiger national champion lined up in a star-studded field in the women’s 100-meter dash. The 2013 world leader in the event, Baptiste sprinted to the finish line in 11.10 seconds for fourth place behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.92), Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare (10.93) and Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure (11.01).
Baptiste is the 2013 world leader in the women’s 100 meters with her seasonal best and Trinidad & Tobago national record of 10.83 set at the Sagicor National Open Championships also on June 22.
Three former LSU standouts also made an appearance on the IAAF Diamond League circuit this weekend as Kimberlyn Duncan, Lolo Jones and Richard Thompson ran Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland. Duncan claimed a third-place finish in the women’s 200-meter dash with a time of 22.73 (+1.4), while Jones added a third-place finish of her own in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a run of 12.60 (+1.2). Thompson finished the 100 meters in eighth place overall while matching his wind-legal seasonal best of 10.14 (+2.0) in the final.