IAAF’s Season Opener Doha Diamond League Marks Super Athletic Performances
14-meeting IAAF Diamond League Season got off to a grand start at Qatari capital Doha on May 9, 2014. In 5 days from now, the second meeting comes up at Shanghai and the League will conclude 116 days later in Brussels on September 5, 2014. Race athletes can score 4 points by winning an event in diamond league, while those finishing second and third will get 2 and 1 point respectively. Accumulated points become important in last two events in Zurich and Brussels, regarded as the season finales.
Since men’s 100 meter event was conspicuous by its absence, women’s race in this category assumed importance at Doha. World champion and Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica expectedly won the race clocking 11.13 seconds. Fraser-Pryce had abstained from participating in 100-meter event at one-day athletic event in her own country 6 days ago and that had allowed Nigerian Blessing Okagbare a clear field. In Doha Fraser-Pryce faced the challenge from Blessing, who pushed the champion to the limits. Finally, Fraser-Pryce won and Blessing finished second in 11.18 seconds. Another Jamaican Kerron Stewart was third in 11.25 seconds.
Men’s high jump at Doha was thrilling as competition level soared to as high as 2.39 meters with four men locked in a fierce battle. These athletes were Canadian Derek Drouin, American Erik Kynard, Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim and Russian Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov. Despite missing 2.37 meters, Ukhov confidently cleared 2.39 and the bar went up to 2.41 meters. Ukhov jumped flawlessly in first leap to emerge the winner while others failed after allotted tries. Men’s long jump was won by the Greek Louis Tsatoumas, who jumped 8.06 meters. Mexico’s Luis Alberto Rivera was second with 8.04 meters while Dutchman Ignisious Gaisah finished third with 8.01 meters. A Greek woman Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou won the pole vault after clearing 4.63 meters. Cuba’s Yarisley finished second with 4.53 meters and Germany’s Kristina Gadschiew finished third by topping out at 4.43 meters.
Women’s 3000 meters was completely dominated by Kenyans. Everyone expected indoor world record holder Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba to win but an unprecedented Kenyan onslaught prevented Dibaba. The race was led by the Kenyan duo of Hellen Obiri and Mercy Cherono, who relegated Dibaba to the sixth place. Obiri won in 8:20.68 with Cherono at second place in 8:21.14. Another Kenyan Kipyegon Faith Chepngetich was third in 8:23:55.
Men’s 1500 meters was won by Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop. Djibouti’s world indoor champion Ayenleh Souleiman led most of the time but finished third at homestretch. Kiprop clocked 3:29.18, followed by compatriot Silas Kiplagat in 3:29.70. Souleiman was third in 3:30.16.
Kenya’s dominance in other middle distance events was highlighted by women’s 800 meter race, which was won by world champion Eunice Sum in 1:59.33 to leave Chanelle Price of the US at second place with 1:59.75. Czech Republic’s Masna Lenka came third in 2:00:20. In men’s 3000 meter steeplechase, Kenyan athletes occupied first eight places with Ezekiel Kemboi winning in 8:04.12, with Brimin Kipruto taking the second place in 8:04.64 while Paul Kipsiele Koech finished third in 8:05.37.
Men’s 110 meter hurdle was won by world champion David Oliver in 13.23 seconds, ahead of Russian Sergey Shubenkov, who finished in 13.38 seconds. Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde came third in 13.42 seconds. In women’s 400 meter hurdles, newcomer Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain stunned everyone by finishing first in 54.59 seconds, followed by Jamaican Kaliese Spencer and Britain’s Eilidh Child in 55.07 and 55.43 respectively. In men’s 400 meters, USA’s Lashawn Merritt stamped his authority with a win in 44.44 seconds to equal his own world lead. Second place was taken by Saudi Arabia’s Youssef Ahmed Masrahi in 44.77 while world indoor champion Pavel Maslak of Czech Republic was third in 44.79.
Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade fought off the challenge from compatriot Warren Weir and Qatar’s Femi Ogunode in men’s 200 meter race. Ashmeade powered his way in 20.13 while Weir was second in 20.31. Femi Ogunode was third in 20.38.
Olympic and world champion New Zealander; Valerie Adams didn’t find any challenge in women’s shot put, needing just two throws. Her toss of 20.20 meters was too distant for others. Belarusian Yulia Leantsiuk and Hungarian Anita Marton finished second and third respectively with 18.78 and 18.32 meters. In men’s discus, Piotr Malachowski of Poland finished with 66.72 meters ahead of India’s Vikas Gowda’s 63.23. Estonia’s Gerd Kanter at 62.90 was third. Slovenian Martina Ratej surprised Australia’s record holder Kimberley Mickle in women’s Javelin throw. Ratej threw 65.48 meters while Mickle could manage the maximum of 65.36. South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen was third with 64.23 meters.
Colombia’s world champion Catherine Ibarguen won women’s triple Jump by reaching 14.43 meters. In a narrow field with only four women crossing the 14-meter mark, Ukrainian Olha Saladukha was second at 14.32 meters and Jamaica’s Williams Kimberly third with 14.15.
While Kenyans stole the show in middle-distance events, the only win for Ethiopia came in men’s 800 meters. In a neck-to-neck finish, world champion Mohammed Aman beat Olympic silver-medalist Nijel Amos of Botswana. Aman went through in 1:44.49, Amos was second in 1:44.54 and Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich finished third in 1:44.82.
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