Several World Leads (WL) were set in the Track events of the Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday, lending credence to suggestions that athletes are set to post faster times ahead of the London 2017 World Championships.
Double sprint Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson has shown no signs of slowing down just yet. Fresh from winning the 200m in Doha a week ago, the 24-year old opened her season in the 100m with a resounding victory as she overcame a slow start to destroy a strong line-up which had the likes of Rio Silver medallist Tori Bowie, and the Ivoirian duo of Murielle Ahouré and Marie Josée Ta Lou.
Thompson pulled away from her rivals, sailing to a World Leading mark of 10.78s to dethrone Aleia Hobbs as the World No.1 with her time of 10.85s set last month. Bowie was 2nd in 11.04s, and Ta Lou a close 3rd with 11.07s.
19-year old Noah Lyles was one of the standout performers at the Shanghai Diamond League. The World U-20 Champion dominated a 200m line-up of which he was the youngest, coming strong as he powered to victory in a scorching time of 19.90s to equal Wayde Van Niekerk’s WL set at the South African Championships last month.
LaShawn Merritt may be aiming to do the 200m/400m double this season as he placed 2nd in 20.27s, having finished in the same position in Doha in the 400m. Great Britain’s Adam Gemili was 3rd in 20.35s, and Ameer Webb 4th in 20.39s, also an SB.
Meanwhile Shaunae Miller-Uibo has already fired warning shots to her rivals as the woman to beat in the 400m in London. The Olympic Champion left the rest of the field trailing in her wake with about 300m to go, storming to a WL of 49.77s to become the first woman to dip inside 50s in 2017.
She was followed by USA’s Natasha Hastings and Olha Zemlyak of Ukraine who both clocked SBs of 50.74s and 50.89s respectively. Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills also posted an SB of 51.45s in 4th place.
Homeboy Bingtian Su raced to an SB of 10.09s to win the men’s 100m (a non-Diamond League event) ahead of Michael Rodgers (10.13s) and Cote d’Ivoire’s Ben Youssef Meïté (10.15s). The race was not without some drama though, as both Japanese sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu and Isiah Young were disqualified for beating the gun.
World Record (WR) holder in the 800m David Rudisha proved a bit rusty in his first outdoor race of the season. Instead, it was World U-20 Champion Kipyegon Bett who stole the show in the event as he secured the victory in 1:44.70.
Teammates Robert Kiptoo Biwott (1:45.15) and Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich (1:45.17) also finished ahead of Olympic Champion Rudisha who was 4th in an SB of 1:45.36.
Olympic Champion in the women’s 1500m Faith Kipyegon kicked off her season on a high and looks set to continue her dominance in 2017. The Kenyan athlete raced to a WL of 3:59.22, with her performance inspiring a wave of SBs and PBs for the rest of the line-up.
Rio 2016 Silver medallist Hellen Obiri was not left out of the WL setting feat as she outclassed the rest of her rivals to clock a time of 14:22.47 to occupy the No.1 position in the world. Beijing 2015 medallist Senbere Teferi followed in 14:31.76, while her teammate Letesenbet Gidey finished in 3rd in 14:36.84.
The final event in the Shanghai Diamond League was the 110 Hurdles where Olympic Champion Omar McLeod (13.09s) held his own to shrug off the threat posed by Orlando Ortega (13.15s) who put up a stiff competition.
China’s Wenjun Xie and McLeod’s compatriot Hansle Parchment were 3rd and 4th in SBs of 13.31s and 13.35s respectively. Sergey Shubenkov returned to global action in 5th place (13.35s), while WR holder Aries Merritt (13.36s) settled for 6th.