USA’s Noah Lyles is getting better with each race, and the 20-year set the track of the Hayward Field on fire as he stormed to a Personal Best (PB) of 19.69s to win the men’s 200m at the Eugene Diamond League on Saturday.
Lyles had clocked a PB of 19.83s at the IAAF Diamond League opener in Doha, before smashing the time in Eugene to be tied with South Africa’s Clarence Munyai as the fastest man in the world over the distance in 2018.
Isaac Makwala who had posed a threat to the American Did Not Finish (DNF) the race due to an injury, and reigning Commonwealth Games Champion Jereem Richards held on in 2nd place with 20.05s. Aaron Brown returned a time of 20.07s in 3rd, and Anaso Jobodwana 4th with 20.42s.
Following the absence of Allyson Felix who pulled out of the event at the last minute, the women’s 400m turned out to be a battle of superiority between reigning Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, and World Champion Phyllis Francis – initially.
However, the Bahamain sprinter took charge as she went past the bend, outclassing her rivals as she enjoyed a smooth sail down the finishing line in a World Lead (WL) of 49.52s, while Francis was a distant 2nd in 50.81s. Shakima Wimbley was 3rd in 50.84s.
It was all about Ivory Coast in the women’s 100m which could be likened to an Olympic or World Championships final, going by the stellar line up put together for the race.
Reigning World Indoor 60m Champion Murielle Ahoure shot out of the blocks and dominated until the last 5m when she was overtaken by her compatriot Marie Josee Ta Lou who took the victory in an impressive 10.88s, as Ahoure clocked a Season’s Best (SB) of 10.90s.
Elaine Thompson posted a time of 10.98s in 3rd place, finishing ahead of Dafne Schippers (11.01s) and Tori Bowie (11.03s). The American appeared to have picked an injury and just held on to complete the race. Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor was 7th with a time of 11.07s.
The men’s 100m was a keenly contested race, considering that London 2017 double Silver medallist Christian Coleman was making his Diamond League debut. However, his teammate Ronnie Baker upset the applecart as he stormed away with 20m to go to nick the win with a wind-aided time of 9.78s (+2.4/s).
Coleman was 2nd in 9.84s as Great Britain’s Reece Prescod continued his impressive run to take 3rd in a time of 9.88s.
Caster Semenya continued her dominance in the 800m where she shattered the Meeting Record in the event, racing to an SB of 1:55.92. It was also a good outing for USA’s Ajee Wilson who was inspired to an SB of 1:56.86 to finish ahead of Francine Niyonsaba (1:56.88, SB).
Genzebe Dibaba returned to Diamond League action in Eugene where she ran a scintillating last lap to set a WL of 14:26.89 after stretching away from teammate Letesenbet Gidey who had set the pace for Dibaba. The younger Ethiopian was rewarded with a lifetime best of 14:30.29 as Hellen Obiri crossed the line in 3rd place with an SB of 14:35.03.
Omar McLeod commenced his 2018 Diamond League campaign on a good note as he led the pack, clocking 13.01s to finish ahead of former World Champion Sergey Shubenkov (13.08s) and Devon Allen (13.13s).
Janieve Russell left it until late before chasing reigning Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammed right to the line to deny the American the victory in the women’s 400m Hurdles.
The Commonwealth Games Champion clocked a time of 54.06s as against Muhammed’s time of 54.09s, while Georganne Moline placed 3rd with her time of 54.33s.
An upset was recorded in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase as Benjamin Kigen upstaged teammate and reigning Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games GOLD medallist, Conseslus Kipruto. Kigen waited until the last lap to challenge the status quo, powering past Kipruto who was already tiring, to clock a PB of 8:09.07.
Kipruto and Evan Jager both clocked 8:11.71, but the Kenyan was eventually awarded 2nd position.