Rohler dominates Diamond League meet; Semenya, Harrison win
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Olympic champion Thomas Rohler threw the javelin further than anyone else has done for more than 20 years at the Diamond League opener in Doha, while Akani Simbine was the surprise winner of the 100 meters on Friday.
Other winners on the night included Caster Semenya, Kendra Harrison and Elaine Thompson.
Rohler moved up to second in the all-time list of longest javelin throwers, with the sixth best-ever throw. The 25-year-old German recorded a world-leading distance of 93.90 meters to win, leaving him behind only Czech double Olympic champion Jan Zelezny, who holds the top five throws, including the world record of 98.48 in 1996.
Simbine, who ran 9.92 earlier in the year, was the only runner under 10 seconds in windy conditions in the men’s 100. The 23-year-old South African’s 9.99 was almost one-tenth of a second better than Asafa Powell’s 10.08, while Justin Gatlin was fourth with 10.14. Femi Ogunode was third on 10.13.
The much anticipated battle between Semenya, the two-time Olympic champion, and Genzebe Dibaba never materialized in the 800 as the South African convincingly won.
Semenya, who was unbeaten over the distance in 2016, posted a world-leading time of 1:56.61, ahead of Kenya’s Rio 2016 bronze medalist Margaret Nyairera Wambui, who clocked 1:57.03.
Ethiopia’s Dibaba, the reigning 1500 world champion who has decided to focus on 800 this season, finished fifth in a disappointing 1:59.37.
Semenya said “the race was fantastic and the field was great.”
World record-holder Harrison won the 100 hurdles in 12.59, ahead of Germany’s Cindy Roleder in 12.90.
In the women’s 200, Olympic champion Thompson won in 22.19, with world champion Dafne Schippers coming in 0.26 behind.
Home fans saw Qatar’s Abderrahaman Samba edge American Kerron Clement in the men’s 400 hurdles, while Mutaz Barshim was a league apart in high jump, successfully clearing 2.36 meters to beat Britain’s Robbie Grabarz on 2.31.
LaShawn Merritt finished second in the men’s 400 on 44.78, behind Bahrain’s Steven Gardiner on 44.6. Another American, Tony McQuay, was third in 44.92.
“I could have executed better, but it was a little windy out there,” Merritt said. “It’s the start of the season so I feel good.”
American Michelle Carter won the women’s shot put with a throw of 19.32. That was nowhere near her Rio gold medal-winning effort of 20.63 but still 33 centimeters better than second-placed Anita Marton of Hungary with 18.99.
Triple-jumpers Christian Taylor (17.25) and Omar Craddock (17.08) led a 1-2 for the U.S.
The next IAAF Diamond League meet is in Shanghai on May 13.