Pedro Pablo Pichardo leaps 18.06m as two triple jumpers better 18m, Justin Gatlin runs a 9.74 100m PB, Shara Proctor equals her British record and Hagos Gebrhiwet beats Mo Farah over 3000m

The 2015 IAAF Diamond League series started in style on Friday evening as numerous records were broken and world leading marks set at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

There were stand-out performances throughout the meeting, but it was the triple jump that stole the show as not one but two men bettered the 18 metre mark. Fresh from leaping a Cuban record of 17.94m in Havana a week earlier, world silver medallist Pedro Pablo Pichardo flew out to 18.06m in the third round to go third on the world all-time list behind only Jonathan Edwards and Kenny Harrison.

But that wasn’t all the competition had to offer. Three rounds later and USA’s Olympic champion Christian Taylor saved his best leap until last and with 18.04m becomes the fifth man in history to go further than 18 metres. Never before had that mark been beaten by two athletes in the same competition.

The only other man to have ever bettered 18 metres is France’s Teddy Tamgho, who was also in action in Doha. The world champion didn’t enjoy similar success on Friday, however, as his only legal leap measured 17.24m and he left the track on a stretcher after injuring his left Achilles during the fourth round and now requires surgery.

“It was a fantastic competition for me,” said Pichardo, the 2012 world junior champion who as well as his world outdoor silver also won world indoor bronze in 2014. “To break the national record once more was superb.”

Taylor commented: “Today’s result proves that there is no big boss and sure winner in triple jump and I think the World Championships in Beijing will be great.”

The men’s 3000m ensured there was drama until the closing stages of the meeting as Hagos Gebrhiwet pipped Mo Farah to victory. Speaking ahead of the event, double Olympic, world and European champion Farah had commented how a European record might be possible, but that he would be more focused on racing his rivals rather than the clock. That proved to be that case and despite clawing his way back in the home straight the 32-year-old didn’t have enough to see off Gebrhiwet, the world 5000m silver medallist behind Farah in 2013, who crossed the line in a world-leading 7:38.08 to Farah’s 7:38.22. It was Farah’s first defeat in a track race since July 2013.

“I didn’t expect to beat a fantastic athlete like Mo Farah, who was reportedly in great shape,” said Gebrhiwet, who won the world junior cross-country title in 2013. “I hope I can repeat that feat and beat him again in Beijing, where it matters most.”

A 9.74 100m PB run by controversial American sprinter Justin Gatlin prompted mixed reactions from fans on social media. The former Olympic and world champion, who has served two doping bans, proved he is in the form of his life at the age of 33 as he extended a winning streak that saw him unbeaten in 2014 to easily beat Mike Rodgers who ran 9.96. Kim Collins clocked a world age-39 best of 10.03 for fourth, as Britain’s James Dasaolu finished last with 10.14.

A little earlier on and Allyson Felix had stormed the 200m, dipping under 22 seconds for a comfortable victory and her 11th win in Doha. No one has run as quick as the Olympic champion’s winning time of 21.98 since she herself ran 21.88 when claiming her London 2012 title. Britain’s Bianca Williams was sixth with 23.05.

The women’s long jump had got the meeting off to an exciting start, with a British duo proving their fine current form. First Lorraine Ugen improved her PB in her opening jump before bettering that mark again with 6.92m to add 15cm to her previous legal best. She then appeared to go even further, with her fifth round leap initially announced as 7.10m for a mark that would have broken the British record, but it was corrected to 6.88m. The drama continued though, as Shara Proctor saved her best leap for last and with 6.95m exactly matched the British record she set in 2012 to finish behind winner Tianna Bartoletta, USA’s 2014 world No.1 whose 6.99m for victory in Doha puts her top of the rankings for 2015. Canada’s Christabel Nettey leapt 6.93m for third ahead of Ugen.

After recently running 12.39, US sprint hurdler Jasmin Stowers went quicker still and with 12.35 broke the Diamond League record and went to seventh on the world all-time list. She led a US one-two as Sharika Nelvis came through to clock a 12.54 PB and also beat the likes of British record-holder Tiffany Porter with 12.65 and Olympic champion Sally Pearson with 12.69. Bershawn Jackson was another to break a meeting record as he clocked 48.09 to win the 400m hurdles from Javier Culson as Britain’s Jack Green continued his comeback by running 49.31 for fourth.

Virginia Nyambura had been on steeplechase pacemaking duty but the Kenyan continued to clock a world-leading 9:21.51 and beat the likes of Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew with 9:21.54. Another favourite was beaten in the women’s 1500m as Ethiopia’s world junior champion Dawit Seyaum ran 4:00.96 for the fastest time in the world so far this year to deny European indoor and outdoor champion Sifan Hassan who clocked 4:01.40.

Ayanleh Souleiman further proved he is a force to be reckoned with in the 800m as he ran a world-leading 1:43.78 to beat Ferguson Cheruiyot with 1:44.53. Behind them, Asbel Kiprop ran 1:45.11 for fifth as Mohammed Aman finished ninth with 1:47.38.

Francena McCorory beat Sanya Richards-Ross over 400m – 50.21 to 50.79, while Sandra Perkovic won the discus with 68.10m and David Storl the shot with 21.51m. Other winners included Konstadinos Filippidis in the pole vault and Tero Pitkamaki, who threw a world-leading 88.62m in the final round of the javelin.

British high jumper Isobel Pooley was pleased with her performance as she cleared a best of 1.91m for third after first-time clearances up to that point. Airine Palsyte claimed victory with 1.94m.

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