Jamaica’s Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce earned an expected victory in the 100m at the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha, crossing the line in 11.13 on Friday (9).
However, after getting away to her customary smart start, she was pushed to the line by the taller athlete running one lane outside her, Blessing Okagbare.
The Nigerian who took 200m bronze at last year’s IAAF World Championships clocked 11.18, with third place going to Fraser-Pryce’s compatriot Kerron Stewart in 11.25.
The women’s 800m provided similarly compelling racing as Kenya’s 2013 world champion Eunice Sum bided her time before letting loose over the final 200 metres to win in a world-leading 1:59.33.
The flowing Kenyan was chased home by the USA’s world indoor champion Chanelle Price, whose reward was a personal best of 1:59.75.
World 400m champion LaShawn Merritt equalled his own 2014 world leading mark of 44.44.The US sprinter was chased home down the final straight by five men virtually running in a line.
Second place went to Youssef Ahmed Masrahi, of Saudi Arabia, who clocked 44.77, with Czech Republic’s world indoor champion Pavel Maslak third in a national record of 44.79.
Kenya’s double Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi produced another world-leading performance as his burst of speed around the final bend saw him win the 3000m steeplechase in 8:04.12, with the 2008 Olympic champion, fellow Kenyan Brimin Kipruto, finishing second in 8:04.64, ahead of fellow countryman Paul Kipsiele Koech, who clocked 8:05.47 for third. Kenyans filled the first eight places.
Nickel Ashmeade produced something of a surprise in the men’s 200m as he defeated his 24-year-old contemporary and fellow Jamaican Warren Weir with a time of 20.13.
The taller, more powerful figure of Ashmeade, running in lane seven, held a couple of strides lead in the final straight as Weir crossed the line in 20.31.
USA’s 2013 world champion David Oliver finished comfortably clear of 2012 European champion Sergey Shubenkov in the 110m hurdles, clocking 13.23 to the Russian’s 13.38.
As expected, Valerie Adams, shot put’s world and Olympic champion, maintained her dominance in the event with a winning effort of 20.20m.
Adams put her heavy stamp on the shot put with her first effort, effectively securing her a 47th successive competition victory, a record that stretches back to August 2010.
Ibarguen extends streak by leaps and bounds
Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia doesn't have a winning streak quite as numerically impressive as Adams, with only 12 consecutive wins to her name, but she still remains unbeaten after nearly two years, with her last defeat coming in the 2012 Olympic final when she won the silver medal.
Ibarguen won the triple jump in Doha with 14.43m, the 2013 world champion adding to the plethora of world leads and meeting records. Another fabled performer and Ibarguen's perennial rival, Ukraine’s former world champion Olga Saladukha, took second place with 14.32m
The men’s discus honours went to Poland’s Piotr Malachowski, the silver medallist at last year’s World Championships in Moscow. The 30-year-old Pole ensured maximum points with a superbly consistent series of throws, throwing 65.19m or better with each one, the best being a second-round effort of 66.72m.
India’s Vikas Gowda took second place with his second-round effort of 63.23m, ahead of Estonia’s 2008 Olympic champion Gerd Kanter, who had to settle for a best of 62.90m.
Christian Taylor, the Olympic triple jump champion, gave the long jump his best shot at the start of a season where he has said that he will be mixing things up a little to keep himself fresh and lessen stress on his joints as he looks ahead to three years of global championships.
While Taylor may be a specialist triple jumper, having begun his list of significant victories by winning the IAAF World Youth Championships title in that event back in 2007, he also took bronze at that same meeting in the long jump, in which his personal best stands at 8.19m from 2010.
The US all-rounder led the event here with a first-round effort of 7.95m, but was overtaken in the next round by Louis Tsatoumas of Greece who registered 8.06m.
By the end of the evening, two others had moved past to push Taylor out of the points, with Mexico’s Luis Alberto Rivera Morales registering 8.04m and the Netherland’s Ignisious Gaisah taking third place with 8.01m.
“I’m not unhappy though, it was a good performance, in fact one of my best since I was at college and doing more long jumping, and a lot of things went well,” said the reflective and erudite Taylor.
Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou of Greece took the honours in the women's pole vault after clearing 4.63m at her third attempt, the only competitor to scale that height.
Cuba's 2012 Olympic silver medallist and 2014 world indoor champion Yarisley Silva was second with 4.53m.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF