World 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway explains why he pulled out of tonight's USATF Bermuda Games because of strong headwinds ©World Athletics YouTube

Gusting winds at the USATF Bermuda Games caused world 110 metres champion Grant Holloway to pull out of what should have been his outdoor season opener after asking organisers in vain for the track to be "flipped".

But a minus 2.5 metres-per-second (mps) headwind didn’t prevent Puerto Rico’s Olympic 100m hurdles champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn setting the fastest time of 2022 so far as she won in 12.67sec.

Shortly before the opening World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting of the season got underway at the Flora Duffy Stadium in Devonshire, Holloway had tweeted:

"Flip the track.

"Please & thank you.

"It’s possible.

"The wind is -4.6 right now.

"Please, think about the athletes and not the viewers.”

But Holloway’s plea fell on deaf ears and shortly before the men’s 110m hurdles final took place with his lane empty, he told a trackside interviewer: "The wind is out of control.

"It’s as high as minus 4.6mps - I don’t think that is great for the hurdle event.

"I’m trying to do consistency, that is the main cue for this season, so I decided to pull out of this race.

"I’m looking forward to going back home next week and hopefully opening up there."

In his absence, the race went to Shane Brathwaite of Barbados in 13.78, running into a 3.8 mps headwind.

By the time Jerome Blake of Canada earned a surprise win in the final event of the men’s 100m, clocking 10.38 to finish ahead of 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton and his fellow American Noah Lyles, the wind reading showed a headwind of 5.6 metres-per-second.

Knighton, running in his first meeting since missing an Olympic 200m medal by one place in Tokyo, clocked 10.39, with world champion Lyles, who finished one place ahead of him at the Olympics, third with the same time.

The preceding women’s 100m field had taken place into a 5.2 mps headwind and rain had begun to fall as the palm trees around the well-populated stadium began to sway and thresh.

Teahna Daniels rose best to the challenge, winning in 11.45 from fellow American Gabby Thomas, the Tokyo 2020 200m bronze medallist, who clocked 11.49.

Olympic 400m champion Steven Gardiner flourished despite a -4.7mps headwind over 200m, winning in 20.79 from Trinidad and Tobago’s world indoor 400m champion Jereem Richards, who clocked 20.86.

Jamaica’s Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson moved back up her original specialist event of the 400m to good effect, winning in 51.40.

The women’s 200m, run into a -5.0mps headwind, went to Anthonique Strachan of The Bahamas, who recorded 23.24, with Dezerea Bryant of the United States second in 23.72 and Jamaica’s Briana Williams third in 23.82.

Kenya’s 19-year-old Kamar Etiang, running his first race outside Africa, earned victory in the 1500m in 3min 45.26sec despite seeing a 40 metres lead at the bell diminish to a metre or so at the line as he slowed dramatically in the final stages.

Last year, Etiang finished second in Kenya’s Olympic trials in a huge personal best of 3:33.02, beating world champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang, who would go on to take second and fourth place at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

But Etiang, who told World Athletics last September that his ambition is to better the 23-year-old world 1500m record of 3:26.00 set by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, was not selected for Tokyo as he had not run sufficient top races to establish his anti-doping credentials.

His performance here looked likely to be a runaway win until the final 40 metres when he looked as if his legs had lost all strength, but an alarmed look over his shoulder to see the rapidly gaining Amos Bartelsmeyer of Germany spurred him into a desperate final effort that took him over the line as a relieved winner.

"It was so tough because of this wind," Etiang commented.

Another hugely promising younger athlete also produced a winning flourish as 23-year-old Shiann Salmon won the women’s 400m hurdles in 55.35 ahead of two more established fellow Jamaican rivals.

Rushell Clayton, 29, the Doha 2019 bronze medallist, was second in 55.89 and 28-year-old Janieve Russell, the 2018 Commonwealth champion who earned 4x400m bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Games, third in 56.56.  

"I knew the headwind was coming so I tried to conserve a bit so I wouldn’t be tired coming home," Salmon said.

Ajee Wilson of the United States, making her outdoor debut less than a month after winning the world indoor title, earned an expected 800m win in 2:03.09.

The strength and experience of Grenada’s three-time Olympian - and London 2012 gold medallist -Kirani James paid off on a day for tough performers as he won the men's 400m in 45.63. 

"I was here before for the Carifta Games and it was amazing," James said.

"The Caribbean has a certain vibe to it."

Jamaica’s world silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts won the women’s triple jump with a best of 14.15m.