American sprinters Gatlin, Bowie set year-best times
MONACO — American sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie set the fastest times this year in the 200 and 100 meters respectively at the Herculis meeting on Friday.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion in the 100, came out of the bend with the lead and pulled away in the homestretch to cross the line in 19.68 seconds despite a 0.5-meter headwind. Nickel Ashmeade finished second in 19.99, Christophe Lemaitre took third and Tyson Gay placed fourth in the 10th leg of the Diamond League circuit.
Gatlin also beat Gay in the 100 at the Athletissima meeting two weeks ago in Switzerland, where Gay was returning from a a one-year doping ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
"I’m ready to face the best Jamaicans in both sprints," Gatlin told the IAAF website. "This year I want to win the Diamond Race in the 100 meters and stay unbeaten."
Gatlin’s previous best time was 19.86 set in 2002. He completed a four-year doping suspension in 2010.
In the women’s 100, Bowie showed a tremendous burst of speed in the last 30 meters to win in 10.80. Veronica Campbell-Brown, the 2007 world champion, finished second in 10.96. Worlds runner-up Murielle Ahoure placed third, ahead of Blessing Okagbare, Allyson Felix and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
"Tonight was the best ever start I had in my life," Bowie said. "After that, the race was just flowing."
At 23, Bowie is having a breakthrough season. Her fastest time last year was only 11.14.
Nijel Amos of Botswana, Silas Kiplagat of Kenya, Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia, Ajee Wilson of the United States and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia also set world-leading marks.
Olympic runner-up Amos won the men’s 800 in 1 minute, 42.45 seconds. He made his move in the homestretch to overtake Olympic champion David Rudisha, who slipped to fifth in the final meters.
Kiplagat got the better of world champion Asbel Kiprop in the final straight to take the men’s 1,500 in 3:27.64. He celebrated his victory, a Diamond League record, by taking off his jersey and kneeling down to kiss his bib.
At her last attempt, world champion Ibarguen leaped 15.31 meters, also a Diamond League record, to win the triple jump. Yekaterina Koneva finished second with a 14.89-meter mark.
"I never doubted my chances of winning. I never lost faith," Ibarguen said. "The world record is there, it’s not far. I will strive and fight for it."
The world record is 15.50 set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets in 1995.
In the women’s 800, Wilson outpaced world champion Eunice Jepkoech Sum in the last 40 meters to finish in 1:57.67.
"It feels great to beat the world champion," Wilson said. "I was told this was a fast track and so it proved tonight."
Dibaba ran 14:28.88 in the women’s 5,000 to beat worlds bronze medallist Almaz Ayana.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won the 110 hurdles in 12.95 to send a loud message ahead of the European championships in Zurich next month. Reigning European champion Sergey Shubenkov finished third behind Orlando Ortega. Olympic champion Aries Merritt, who has struggled for form this season because of a hamstring injury, placed seventh in 13.47.
Returning from a foot injury, world champion Zuzana Hejnova was making her first appearance in the women’s 400 hurdles this year and finished seventh in 55.86. Kaliese Spencer won the race in 54.09.
World champion Bohdan Bondarenko claimed the men’s high jump by clearing 2.40 meters. LaShawn Merritt, the 2008 Olympic champion, outpaced Gil Roberts to take the men’s 400 in 44.30.
Jairus Kipchoge Birech outclassed the men’s 3,000 steeplechase by running 8:03.33.
Worlds runner-up Piotr Malachowski threw 65.84 meters in the men’s discus to beat Jorge Fernandez and Gerd Kanter.
Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova dominated the women’s javelin with a 66.96-meter throw and Valerie Adams threw 20.38 meters to remain undefeated this year in the women’s shot put.
Fabiana Murer cleared 4.76 to stun Olympic pole vault champion Jennifer Suhr by five centimeters while Li Jinzhe of China was the surprise winner in the men’s long jump with a 8.09-meter leap.
The next Diamond League meeting is in Stockholm on Aug. 21.