By Jamaica Observer,
Rome, Italy (AFP) — Olympic sprint 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 10.89 seconds at the Olympic Stadium, in the fourth round of the Diamond League series.
Asher-Smith crossed second in 10.94 seconds with American Aleia Hobbs, winner in Shanghai, third in 11.12 seconds.
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 19.70 seconds.
“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 19.72 seconds, with Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez a distant third in 20.17 seconds.
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 1500m, Ethiopian world record holder Genzebe Dibaba beat 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 waited for my race,” said Dibaba.
“I was sure I was in good enough shape. But honestly I’m ready to run even faster now.”
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 Kenziera (48.99sec) with Japan’s Abe Takathoshi third (49.57sec).
Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad clocked 53.67sec to win the women’s 400m hurdles ahead of compatriot Little Shamier (54.40sec).
European long jump champion Malaika Mihambo broke the seven-metre 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.
Poland’s Konrad Kukowieczki won the shot put with a new meet record of 21.97 metres, as world champion Joe Kovacs of the United States dropped to fourth despite a season’s best 21.46m.
Telahun Haile Bekele led an Ethiopian sweep of the 5000 metres, ahead of Selemon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet.
Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko won the men’s high jump with a world leading 2.31 metres, and American Omar Craddock the men’s triple jump.
Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov won the men’s 110m hurdles (13.26) and China’s Lyu Huihui won the women’s javelin throw.