Stunning start to women's 100m in Tokyo

Marie Josee Ta Lou has set the early pace in the women's 100m in Tokyo.
Marie Josee Ta Lou has set the early pace in the women's 100m in Tokyo.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou has upstaged the Jamaican sprint queens in a remarkable start to the Tokyo Olympics track and field program in the women's 100m.

Ivory Coast sprinter Ta Lou equalled the African record of 10.78 seconds in the opening round as six runners dipped under the 11-second barrier.

Left in their wake on Friday was Australian Olympic rookie Hana Basic, who was eliminated after finishing fifth in the final heat in 11.32.

"I'm pretty disappointed," the 25-year-old Basic told the Seven Network.

"I had big expectations, but I'm at the Olympics and it was unbelievable.

"Twelve months ago I was a completely different person off the track.

"I went through a lot in the last 12 months, so to be here and reflect on the season, I can't wait to have two weeks in quarantine just to soak it all in."

In an opening round of the highest quality, defending Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was second fastest in 10.82, just two hundredths of a second quicker than fellow Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the Olympic 100m title in 2008 and 2012.

The other three runners to dip under 11 seconds - Swiss duo Ajla del Ponte and Mujinga Kambundji and Britain's Daryll Neita - all set PBs, setting the scene for more great showdowns in the semis and final on Saturday.

It was an impressive opening session for the Australian team in the field, with reigning Commonwealth high jump champion Brandon Starc and discus thrower Matthew Denny both easing through to their respective finals with a minimum of fuss.

Starc was one of 13 jumpers to clear 2.28m, with his only miss coming at his first attempt at 2.25m.

"It felt pretty good to be honest," he said.

"I only had the one miss and I'm probably going to put that down to the wait between jumps as there were a lot of people out there.

"Other than that it was pretty seamless."

Denny came into the competition buoyed by a new pesonal best of 66.18m last month.

Now fully recovered from a rib cartilage injury, the big Queenslander's best throw of 65.13m left him in fourth spot overall in the qualifying round, with the prospect of even better to come in Saturday's final.

National record holder Catriona Bisset was surprisingly eliminated in the opening round of the women's 800m.

Bisset had looked comfortable in second spot for much of her heat, only to be checked coming into the final straight and slipping back to fifth in 2:01.65.

Countrywoman Morgan Mitchell also failed to advance.

Ben Buckingham, Ed Trippas and Matthew Clarke were all eliminated in the opening round of the men's 3000m steeplechase.

Buckingham ran the best of the trio, crossing in seventh spot only to be disqualified for stepping onto the infield during the race.

Australian Associated Press