World indoor champion returns from injury to win 100m clash at a Diamond League meeting packed with world-leading marks
The world’s top 100m sprinters clashed in Rabat on Friday evening with Christian Coleman emerging a narrow winner.
The world 60m champion has struggled with injury this summer after his world record-breaking indoor season but he asserted his dominance in the Moroccan city by beating fellow American Ronnie Baker, although they were both given the same time of 9.98 into a headwind of -0.4m/sec.
Demonstrating the US dominance, Noah Lyles was a close third in 9.99 with Mike Rodgers fourth in 10.01.
The British challenge did not materialise, though, as Reece Prescod clocked 10.09 and CJ Ujah 10.19 in fifth and sixth. In fact Prescod appeared relieved to have the chance to race after initial fears that he might be disqualified for a false start.
If the men’s 100m was the most anticipated showdown of the night, the women’s 5000m produced the highest-quality track race as Hellen Obiri outkicked Sifan Hassan to win in a world lead of 14:21.76.
The Kenyan kicked hard 250m from home and held her form in the home straight as Hassan challenged her.
The Dutch runner was rewarded with a European record of 14:22.34, though.
Close behind, Ethopians Letesenbet Gidey and Senberi Teferi were third and fourth in 14:23.14 and 14:23.33 while Agnes Tirop of Kenyan ran 14:24.24 in fifth in a race full of swift times.
Such was the standard of the race, Genzebe Dibaba finished back in sixth as Britain’s Eilish McColgan was seventh in 14:52.98 and Steph Twell 12th in 15:36.45.
In the field, Mariya Lasitskene’s 45-competition high jump win streak came to an end as she failed her three attempts at 1.94m.
Mirela Demireva and Yuliya Levchenko cleared the height, with Demireva of Bulgaria winning on countback as Lasitskene was third with 1.90m and Britain’s Morgan Lake fifth with the same height.
In the women’s shot put another big name was defeated as Valerie Adams came third in a contest won by Christina Schwanitz as the German threw 19.40m – just 19cm ahead of Aliona Dubitskaya of Belarus.
One athlete who was not going to lose was Caster Semenya, though, as she tackled the 1000m. The South African fell three seconds outside the world record, however, as she ran 2:31.01.
Yomif Kejelcha bounced back from his recent DQ in Lausanne by running a 3000m world lead with a convincing victory in 7:32.92. In Lausanne he got into a tangle with fellow Ethiopian Selemon Barega on the final bend, which allowed Birhanu Balew of Bahrain to win. But here Kejelcha had a point to prove and blew Balew away on the final lap to win with ease.
The crowd reacted in pretty muted fashion, though, but only because Moroccan hope Abdalaati Iguider pulled out in the closing stages and lay on the track grimacing.
Coming off the bend in the women’s 200m, Dina Asher-Smith looked set for a Diamond League victory as she enjoyed a clear lead. But Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas ran the Briton down in the closing metres to win in 22.29 with Asher-Smith clocking 22.40 into a slight headwind, while fellow Brit Jodie Williams ran 23.26 in sixth.
A dramatic and high-quality javelin, meanwhile, saw Andreas Hofmann open with a meet record of 87.11m before improving to 88.58m as he battled with fellow German Thomas Rohler. But Magnus Kirt threw an Estonian record of 89.75m in the last round to go into the lead with a surprise victory.
With great performances throughout the evening, Caterine Ibarguen leapt out to a triple jump world lead of 14.96m as the Colombian saw off the challenge of Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams.
The home crowd in Morocco had plenty to cheer in an exciting men’s 1500m as home athlete Brahim Kaazouzi ran 3:33.22 to outkick Filip Ingebrigtsen and Ayanleh Souleiman.
Close behind, Charlie Da’Vall Grice was close to his PB and ran a UK lead of 3:34.20 as he came fifth.
The men’s 3000m steeplechase also saw a top-class run from Benjamin Kigen as the Kenyan clocked a world lead of 8:06.19 with a blistering finish to see off his rivals.
Jamaican talent Akeem Bloomfield won the men’s 400m in 44.33 ahead of Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar as Matthew Hudson-Smith of Britain was third in 44.79.
Francine Nyonsaba took the women’s 800m in Rabat with 1:57.90 while GB’s Lynsey Sharp broke two minutes for the first time this season with 1:59.86 for seventh.
Elsewhere, American Brianna McNeal clocked a meet record of 12.51 to win the 100m hurdles while Sam Kendricks continued his great season in the pole vault with a 5.86m win.
» See the July 19 issue of AW for more coverage from Rabat and other meetings in the past week