Gatlin wins 100 at Shanghai Diamond League meet
SHANGHAI (AP) — Justin Gatlin cruised to victory in the 100 meters at the Shanghai Diamond League meet on Sunday, while Chinese hurdler Xie Wenjun got the loudest cheer of the night by upsetting world champion David Oliver in the 110-meter hurdles.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion, got off to a good start and pulled away from the field after 60 meters, finishing in 9.92 seconds — the fastest time in the world this year. Jamaica’s Nesta Carter was 0.2 seconds back in second and American Michael Rodgers was third.
“I have much more left in the tank,” Gatlin said. “I cruised at 9.92 with no wind. I felt I made it look easy.”
Gatlin was the only sprinter to beat Jamaican star Usain Bolt last year, edging him at the line in the 100 in Rome last June. But the American couldn’t match that feat when it mattered, falling to Bolt at the worlds in Moscow two months later.
Bolt didn’t compete in Shanghai this year, but Gatlin believes he sent the defending world and Olympic champion a message with his impressive time on Sunday.
“I think a lot of people take the off-year (between the Olympics and worlds) for granted. They want to use it as a rest year, just show their face, but I think this year is the year where you really show your talent,” Gatlin said.
With injured 2004 Olympic hurdling champion Liu Xiang watching in the stands, Xie held off a fast-charging Oliver and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France to win the hurdles in a personal-best time of 13.23 seconds.
Martinot-Lagarde was second in 13.26, 0.2 seconds ahead of Oliver.
“I didn’t expect I could finish first in today’s race because all my rivals are world-class athletes, like David Oliver,” Xie said. “So it’s a great surprise and great pleasure for me to win at home.”
Xie’s teammate, Liu, hasn’t competed since crashing out of the 2012 London Olympics with a ruptured Achilles tendon and undergoing surgery. His coach said Saturday he’s aiming to return next spring, with an eye toward competing at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare got a double victory in Shanghai, winning the women’s long jump with a leap of 6.86 meters on her first attempt and then capturing the 200 in 22.36 seconds.
“I was just going out there to do my best,” she said. “If I execute properly, I wouldn’t get less than a win.”
Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100 last week at the season-opening Diamond League meet in Qatar, dropped out before the start with a shin injury, and her countrywoman, Veronica Campbell-Brown, who missed much of last season because of a doping ban that was later overturned, finished fifth.
Campbell-Brown, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 200, tested positive for a banned diuretic at a meet in Jamaica last May, but denied intentionally taking any prohibited substance. The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld her appeal against a two-year doping ban in February, citing flaws in the test collection procedures and possible “environmental contamination” of her urine sample.
“I’ve been doing track and field all my life and the honest truth is I’ve never used drugs in my life. I don’t know where that (positive test) come from. And to sit there knowing what I know, I have to sit there and watch 2013 go by, it’s heart-wrenching,” Campbell-Brown said. “I know sooner or later I will get back into the shape I want to be.”
Jamaica had just one winner on the night in Novlene Williams-Mills, who took the women’s 400 in 50.31. She was just 0.6 seconds ahead of former world champion Amantle Montsho of Bostwana.
American Allyson Felix was fifth in her first race since collapsing on the track with a torn hamstring at last year’s worlds.
Another American, Emma Coburn, surprised the field in the women’s 3,000 steeplechase, beating all three medalists at last year’s worlds in a time of 9 minutes, 19.80 seconds. A two-time NCAA champion at the University of Colorado, she took the lead on the first lap and opened up a 70-meter gap with two laps to go.
Americans also captured two other events: Michael Tinsley won the men’s 400 hurdles and Christian Cantwell led an American sweep of the shot put.
Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie continued his dominance in the pole vault, winning easily with a leap of 5.92 meters, while Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi won the women’s 1,500 in 3 minutes, 58.72 seconds.