The 2018 Doha Diamond League witnessed a scintillating evening of back-to-back action as the world’s best athletes delivered incredible performances across the board.
Reigning Diamond League Champion and World silver medallist Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas broke the Doha meeting record and his own national record in the 400m with a time of 43.87s. Team Qatar’s World bronze medallist Abdalleleh Haroun came second with a season’s best of 44.50s, showing that he is in fine form for the season ahead.
In the women’s 100m, World silver medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou stormed to victory with a world-lead time and personal best of 10.85s, with Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteg finishing second in 10.90 and Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson finishing third in 10.93.
Thompson, in her post race interview, said: “Im very happy to hit the podium. I’m looking ahead for the year and topping my PB is one step on that journey.”
Jura Levy, the other Jamaican in the women’s 100m field, finished 8th in 11.29s.
Reigning world record holder Kendra Harrison of the USA held the competition at bay in the Women’s 100m hurdles as she swept to victory with a time of 12.53s. Coming back for the 2018 season, 2016 Olympic Gold medallist Brianna McNeal finished second, six seconds behind in 12.58, and Sharika Nelvis came in third with 12.75s, making it an all-American top three.
Jamaican Danielle Williams finished 5th in 12.82s.
Team Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba topped the men’s 400m hurdles in impressive style.
Samba continued his dazzling form so far in 2018 to wipe the field in the Men’s 400m hurdles smashing the Diamond League record, Doha meeting record and his own Qatar national record in the process, with a time of 47.57s. Two-time World Champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Bershawn Jackson of the USA finished over 1.5 seconds behind to take second place in 49:08, with last year’s IAAF Diamond League Champion, Kryon McMaster from the British Virgin Islands third in 49.46.
“I’ve defended my title – YES! I’m very happy for me and for Qatar. Winning at home is an amazing feeling, especially to break not only my record and the National Record, but the Diamond League record as well,” Samba said.
The Qatari crowd continued their celebrations as Qatar’s sporting legend Mutaz Barshim lived up to expectation and created further sporting history as he cleared 2.40m for an incredible sixth consecutive season.
Another Doha meeting record of the evening came in the Men’s 200m as 2017 Diamond League winner Noah Lyles of the USA picked up where he left off last season with a time of 19.83s. He beat 2017 World bronze medallist Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago and World Champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey into second and third places respectively.
Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer, 20.72s, finished 8th in the race.
Richards described the race as “high qualify” and “great and intense rivalry.”
“I think I did a really good job today to finish in the top three, and that was my aim,” added Richards.
Lyles, the winner said: “The race was fun. We knew it was hot this morning, but surprisingly it was still hot in the evening. Right now, I just hope my performance stays the same.
“I definitely don’t plan to stay ranked second; I want to step back into first place at the Diamond League. I’m working to fix some things in my performance and continue to get better. For me, outdoor is easier and I need to keep my turns tight and set my mind ahead for the season.”
Meanwhile there was a shock in the men’s triple jump Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo once again beat two-time Olympic Champion, three-time World Champion and six-time Diamond League Champion, Christian Taylor on Doha soil.
In 2015, the two created the greatest triple jump competition in history as they both jumped over 18 metres. This time, the distances were shorter with Pablo jumping a world-latest of 17.95 and Taylor jumping 17.81m.