Justin Gatlin, Andre De Grasse beaten in Diamond League opener
South African Akani Simbine is looking like the biggest threat to Usain Bolt this season.
Simbine dusted the Olympic silver and bronze medalists, Justin Gatlin and Andre De Grasse, to open the Diamond League season in Doha on Friday. Bolt, in his final season, is expected to race for the first time since Rio on June 10.
Simbine clocked 9.99 seconds into a 1.2 meter/second headwind on Friday. Former world-record holder Asafa Powell was second in 10.08, with Gatlin fourth (10.14) and De Grasse fifth (10.21).
Full Doha results are here. NBCSN will air Diamond League highlights on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Simbine owns five of the eight fastest times in the world this year and has broken 10 seconds a total of six times. Nobody else has done it more than once. The 23-year-old has risen steadily the past few years, breaking 10 for the first time in 2015 and then finishing fifth in Rio.
Gatlin and De Grasse raced individually outdoors for the first time this year on Friday. They did not impress.
Gatlin, 35, finished outside the top three of a 100m for the first time since 2013. It also marked Gatlin’s slowest 100m time against a full field in a final since 2011, according to Tilastopaja.org.
De Grasse, 22, notched the second-slowest 100m final time of his two-year professional career. He looked much more impressive two weeks ago, overtaking Gatlin in an IAAF World Relays 4x100m heat anchor leg.
In other events, South African Caster Semenya eased to win a loaded 800m in 1:56.61, the fastest time in the world this year.
The Olympic champion Semenya and Rio bronze medalist Margaret Wambui pulled away in the final 100 meters. Genzebe Dibaba, the 1500m world-record holder making her 800m debut, faded behind them to fifth in 1:59.37.
Jamaican Elaine Thompson outdueled Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers in a matchup of the Rio Olympic 200m gold and silver medalists, 22.19 to 22.45 into a 2.3 meter/second headwind. Rio bronze medalist Tori Bowie, who was not in the Doha field, has the fastest time this year at 22.09.
In the javelin, Rio Olympic champion Thomas Roehler of Germany launched 93.9 meters, making him the No. 2 performer all time. Czech Jan Zelezny, the Olympic champion in 1992, 1996 and 2000, owns the world record (98.48) and the five best throws of all time.
The Diamond League continues in Shanghai on May 13, with live streaming coverage on NBC Sports Gold.
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