Though a tough call, double Olympic sprint Champion Elaine Thompson secured a convincing win over fierce rival Dafne Schippers to win the women’s 200m title at the Doha Diamond League on Friday.
This is the first time both athletes who won GOLD and Silver respectively over the distance in Rio, are going head-to-head this season.
The Jamaican sprinter won the superiority battle between the pair last season, with her Dutch rival left to rue her losses in 2016. However, Thompson looks set to continue in her winning ways, and played an integral role in the successes of the Jamaican women’s 4x200m and 4x100m teams at last month’s World Relays and Penn Relays respectively.
She claimed the title in Doha with a time of 22.19s, while reigning World Champion and World No.2 Schippers followed in 22.45s. African Games double sprint Champion Marie-Josée Ta Lou was 3rd in 22.77s as Simone Facey clocked 23.00s in 4th place. Former Olympic Champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare posted 23.09s and 23.15s respectively.
World Leader in the men’s 400m Steven Gardiner was the man to beat in the event as he finished ahead of Olympic Bronze medallist LaShawn Merritt with a time of 44.60s. Merritt and fellow American Tony McQuay followed in times of 44.78s and 44.92s, while Botswana’s youngster Karabo Sibanda finished 4th with an SB of 45.05s.
World Record (WR) holder in the 100m Hurdles Kendra Harrison was prevented from setting a faster time by strong headwinds at the Doha Stadium. Nevertheless, she held her own to win the race in 12.59s, with Germany’s Cindy Roleder (12.90s) and Sharika Nelvis (12.91s) following.
A new sensation has emerged in the men’s 400m Hurdles in the person of Qatar’s Abderrahaman Samba who is the current World Leader in the event with his time of 48.31s.
The 21-year old put up an absolutely brilliant performance to upstage the highly experienced field, going clear to win the race in 48.44s as reigning Olympic Champion Kerron Clement placed 2nd in 49.40s. Daegu 2011 Bronze medallist L.J. Van Zyl, and Beijing 2015 GOLD medallist Nicholas Bett, clocked 49.49s and 49.70s.
Reigning Commonwealth Games Champion Cornel Fredericks made a return to Diamond League action where he placed 5th with a time of 49.96s.
Rio 2016 Silver medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim finally secured a long elusive win on his home turf as she dominated the men’s High Jump and was the last man standing at the height of 2.36m, which is a World Lead.
This will be a huge relief for Barshim who was yet to win the event in Doha until his feat on Friday. Great Britain’s Robbie Grabarz and former World Champion Thomas Donald of the Bahamas set SBs of 2.31m and 2.29m respectively.
Reigning World and Olympic Champion in the men’s Triple Jump Christian Taylor maintained his winning streak as he dominated his event with a leap of 17.25m to finish ahead of teammate Omar Craddock (17.08m) and Alexis Copello (16.81m). Rio 2016 Bronze medallist Bin Dong was 4th in 16.76m.
Women’s reigning Olympic Champion Michelle Carter opened her outdoor season on a good note, topping the standings with her SB of 19.32m. World Leader Anita Marton settled for 2nd with a mark of 18.99m, with Aliona Dubitskaya following in 18.90m.
There was a fierce battle between Rio 2016 GOLD and Silver medallists Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris in the women’s Pole vault. Morris owns the Meeting Record (MR) of 4.83m set last year and she was hoping to improve on the mark in 2017.
Nevertheless she was denied the win as the consistent Stefanidi took the victory in an SB of 4.80m, with the American following with a distance of 4.75m. Cuban Yarisley Silva, who is the reigning World Champion in the event, settled for 3rd with 4.65m.