Doha, Qatar: Caster Semenya grabbed the headlines with a comfortable victory in the 800m, but there were plenty of other impressive performances in the Doha Diamond League at the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday.
Among the top performers were Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali in the men’s 300m steeplechase, Kenya’s Hellen Obiri in women’s 3000m, Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain in women’s 200m, Ramil Guliyev of Turkey in the men’s 200m, and Swede Daniel Stahl in men’s discus throw.
Dalilah Muhammad of the USA won the first gold of the meeting, cruising home in the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.61sec.
Muhammad’s compatriot Ashley Spencer won silver in 54.72sec while Ukraine’s Anna Ryzhykova took bronze in 54.82.
In the women’s 200m Asher Smith romped to victory in a world-leading mark of 22.26. Jamile Samuel of the Netherlands came a distant second to win silver in 22.890 while Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria took bronze (23.14)
Earlier, in the men’s 800m, Qatari hope Addalla Abubaker Haydar put in an impressive performance but had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
Abdalla, who won gold in the Asian Championship at the same venue 11 days back, was in contention till his final stride and was only beaten to the bronze by a lunge to the tape from USA’s Donavan Brazier.
Nijel Amos of Botswana won the gold in 1:44.29sec and Kipkurui Emmanuel Korir took silver in 1:44.50.
In women’s 100m hurdles Jamaica’s Danielle Williams won gold in 12.66sec, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan took silver in 12.73 and Sharika Nelvis claimed bronze in 12.78.
In the men’s discus throw Daniel Stahl set a Diamond League record of 70.56 to comfortably take gold. Austria’s Lukas WeissHaidenger won silver with an effort of 66.90 and Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi, who took gold in the Asian Championships in Doha 10 days back, settled for bronze with 66.78.
In the men’s 200m Guliyev won gold in 19.99sec and Ecuador’s Alex Quinonex took silver in 20.19. Aaron Brown of Canada settled for bronze in 20.20.
Sam Kendricks took gold in the men’s pole vault with an effort of 5.80, with Brazilian Thiago Braz finishing second and Japan’s Seito Yamamoto taking bronze.
Meanwhile, in men’s 3000m steeplechase, which was fervently cheered by the African fans, El Bakkali won gold in 8:07.22sec. Hilary Bor of the US won silver and Kenyan Leonard Kipkemoi Bett had to settle for bronze.
"It's great being here in Doha and to win here tonight means a lot to me," said El Bakkali. "I'm happy for the win and the time was a big and I'm very happy with it. Now it is about pressing further."
In the eagerly awaited women’s 800m, South African world and Olympic champion Semenya stormed to gold in 1:54.98sec. Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi took silver in 1:57.75sec and Ajee Wilson of USA took bronze in 1:58.83.
In the men’s shot put, the fierce battle between Ryan Crousier and Tomas Walsh continued, with American Crousier winning gold with an effort of 2.14. Kiwi Walsh won silver (22.06) while Romani Darlan took bronze in 21.60.
Kenyans dominated the men’s 1500m, with the first seven representing the African country.
Elijah Motonei Manangoi won gold in 3:32.21 while Timothy Cheruiyot claimed silver (3:32.47) and Bethwell Brigen took bronze (3:33.12).
In the women’s 3000m, which was one of the hotly contested events, Kenya’s Hellen Obiri silenced Genzebe Dibaba and her big number of Ethiopian supporters by sprinting to gold in 8.25.60. Dibaba settled for silver in 8:26.20 and Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, also of Kenya, took bronze in 8:29.02.
“I am happy winning at this great arena which will also host the IAAF World Championships,” said Obiri. “I am happy to begin the season with a win despite taking a break from training for some time. The final lap was very tough but I’ve always posted a good result in the final 100m. I hope to remain in top shape for the World Championships.”