Thompson outsprints Asher-Smith, Norman stuns Lyles in Rome | Daily News

Thompson outsprints Asher-Smith, Norman stuns Lyles in Rome

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson (L) wins the Women’s 100m ahead of Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (R) and Ivory Coast Marie-Josee Ta Lou (4th place) during the IAAF Diamond League competition on Thursday at the Olympic stadium in Rome. - AFP
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson (L) wins the Women’s 100m ahead of Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (R) and Ivory Coast Marie-Josee Ta Lou (4th place) during the IAAF Diamond League competition on Thursday at the Olympic stadium in Rome. - AFP

ROME, FRIDAY: Olympic champion Elaine Thompson dominated the women’s 100 metres at the Diamond League meet in Rome to beat Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith as Michael Norman inflicted the first defeat on fellow American Noah Lyles over 200m in nearly three years.

Jamaican Thompson powered on late to pull clear of her rivals with a world-leading 10.89sec at the Olympic Stadium, in the fourth round of the Diamond League series.

Asher-Smith crossed second in 10.94sec with American Aleia Hobbs, winner in Shanghai, third in 11.12sec.

Thompson, the Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m, had been stunned by Asher-Smith over the same distance in Stockholm last week with the Briton also winning in Doha in May.

But this time it was 23-year-old Asher-Smith who was taken by surprise.

“The race wasn’t what I expected, although I had a really fast start which is good,” said triple European champion Asher-Smith, who was making her debut this season over 100m.

“Opening the season with sub 11 seconds isn’t bad at all, especially when I’m still feeling a little rusty,” she said.

Norman, 21, got off to a blistering start and held on despite a late surge by Lyles, also 21, to achieve a world-leading time for the season of 19.70sec.

“I’m really happy with the time, there was a good flow, it was amazing,” said 400m specialist Norman.

“I didn’t have any expectations coming into this race.” Lyles, winner of the past two Diamond League trophies over the 200m distance, posted 19.72sec, with Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez a distant third in 20.17sec.

Lyles had not been beaten since the US trials in July 2016 which saw him fail to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Since then he has claimed nine straight victories and dominated the Diamond League in 2018 and a year earlier, but missed the world championships in 2017 due to an injury.

“This race didn’t really go as I expected,” said Lyles.

“Winning is what is always expected, but I ran faster than in the last race so I can feel great things will happen,” he said.

“The next competitions are in the USA, and before thinking of the World Championships, I have to make the team.” In the 1,500m, Ethiopian world record holder Genzebe Dibaba beat a top class field including European champion Laura Muir of Scotland to set a worldwide season’s best 3min 56.28sec.

Dibaba accelerated with 600 metres to go with Muir the only competitor to keep pace, finishing in 3min 56.73 with Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay third in 3min 59.96.

“I was sure I was in good enough shape,” said Dibaba.

“But honestly I’m ready to run even faster now.” “Having Dibaba in the race, and trying to stay with her is extra motivation,” said Muir, looking ahead to the world championships in Doha next September.

Dibaba’s compatriots swept the men’s 5,000m with Telahun Haile Bekele leading the way ahead of fellow Ethiopians Selemon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet.

The United States went 1-2 in both the men’s and women’s 400 metres hurdles.

Rai Benjamin won the men’s race with a season’s best 47.58sec, ahead of David Kendziera (48.99sec) with Japan’s Takatoshi Abe third (49.57sec).

Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad clocked 53.67sec to win the women’s 400m hurdles ahead of compatriot Little Shamier (54.40sec).

Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser won the women’s 400m for a second consecutive year ahead of Jamaican’s Shericka Jackson and Stephenie Ann McPherson.

European long jump champion Malaika Mihambo broke the seven metres mark for the first time in her career with a wind-assisted 7.07 metres (+0.5) leap on her way to victory.

Mihambo pulled out the jump on her fourth attempt to become the first woman this year to break the symbolic seven-metre mark, with the longest jump in two years.

The 25-year-old finished ahead of Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen (6.87m) of Colombia and former Olympic and four-time world champion Brittney Reese (6.76m) of the United States.

American Omar Craddock claimed his first Diamond League win in the triple jump, and warned: “For the end of the season I have gold in my mind. It will build piece by piece.” Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko won the men’s high jump with a world-leading 2.31 metres, and Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov won the men’s 110m hurdles (13.26) ahead of Britain’s Andrew Pozzi. Poland’s Konrad Kukowieczki won the shot put and China’s Lyu Huihui won the women’s javelin.

The next round in the 14-leg Diamond League series will be in Oslo on June 13. - AFP


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