Americans Noah Lyles and Gabrielle Thomas won the 200m of the first meeting of the Diamond League in Doha (Qatar), amputated from the pole vault because of the wind on Friday.
On the second day of a sandstorm, the event was canceled for safety reasons. The Swedish world record holder Armand Duplantis and the French Renaud and Valentin Lavillenie will finally jump indoors on Saturday afternoon, at the Aspire academy.
In the stadium of the Qatar Sports Club, attention was therefore focused on the sprints but also the high jump.
South Korean Woo Sang-hyuk (2.33m), world indoor champion in Belgrade this year, won ahead of national hero Mutaz Essa Barshim (2.30m), reigning Olympic champion with the Italian Gianmarco Tamberi (7th with 2.20m, after three failures at 2.24m).
Noah Lyles, Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo last year, took first place in the men’s 200m in 19 sec 72/100, ahead of his compatriot Fred Kerley (19 sec 75/100), Trinidadian Jereem Richard and the Canadian Andre de Grasse, Olympic champion (20 sec 15/100).
“It was a good race. I feel like I’ve achieved a lot of things that I’ve been trying to put in place for a few weeks, I’m very happy with it, reacted Lyles. I felt good, things are came naturally, so I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
– Objective World Championships –
De Grasse was also positive. “I always want to do well but I know that my main objective is the World Championships”, in Eugene (United States) from July 15 to 24, explained the Canadian. “It’s all just helping me get there, so I’m not necessarily 100% in the Diamond League, but I want to have fun doing it.”
Over the same distance in the women’s category, Gabrielle Thomas, also in bronze in Japan, won in 21 sec 98/100, equaling the meeting record previously set by her compatriot Allyson Felix.
“It was heavy to start the season (outdoors, editor’s note), there was a lot of competition,” she rejoiced. “I have the will to win, I fight until the end.”
Thomas was ahead of Jamaican Shericka Jackson (22 sec 07/100) and British world champion Dina Asher-Smith (22 sec 37/100).
The latter found her favorite distance, a few months after having given up on the half-lap in Tokyo, injured. “I would have liked to be a little faster but it’s my first 200m of the year and you have to run to be in good shape,” commented Asher-Smith.
– Surprise on 400 m –
In the 400m hurdles, the Brazilian Alison dos Santos, Olympic bronze medalist, won in 47 sec 24/100, ahead of the American Rai Benjamin, silver medalist (47 sec 49/100).
Among the women, surprise in the 400m: the Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, reigning Olympic champion, only signed the third time (51 sec 84/100), behind the Dominican Marileidy Paulino (51 sec 20/100), silver medalist in the distance at the last Olympic Games, and the Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson (51 sec 69/100).
The only Frenchwoman in the running, Cyréna Samba-Mayela achieved the fifth fastest time in the 100m hurdles (12 sec 72/100). Crowned world champion in the 60m indoor hurdles this winter, at 21, she “begins to take (her) bearings for the season”.
“I see that I have a lot of things to correct, it’s normal, it’s the first races, says Samba-Mayela. But it was a good experience to start again with the big ones on the circuit”, for his second League diamond.
On Saturday, Duplantis, now perched at 6.20m, will finally take to the track. His goal this season is to conquer the last title he is missing: that of outdoor world champion.
Then go to Birmingham (United Kingdom) on May 21, with the program including the first 100m of the Diamond League.