Americans Allyson Felix and David Oliver sounded a warning to their Olympic rivals with fine performances at the Qatar Super Grand Prix on Friday.
Felix completed a 100m and 400m double while Oliver ran 12.95 seconds in the high hurdles, 0.07 seconds outside Liu Xiang’s world record. Oliver’s time was a personal best and the fastest of the year.
Felix, who last year became only the second woman after German Marita Koch in 1983 to win three gold medals at a single world championships in Osaka, clocked the year’s best time in both her events.
The world 200m champion clocked 10.93 in the 100m to better the year’s best of 10.96 set by Jamaican Kerron Stewart at Kingston on May 3. Jamaicans Sherone Simpson (11.09) and Sheri-Ann Brooks (11.14) completed the podium.
Felix, who also won gold in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays in Osaka last year, dominated the 400m clocking 49.83 seconds to improve on the year’s best of 50.47 set by compatriot Sanya Richards last month.
Shericka Williams of Jamaica was second in 50.50 and Natasha Hastings of the US third with 50.80.
“I’m happy that I could complete a double, like last year,” Felix said.
“Both races went according to my plan and I hope to maintain this form for the Olympics,” she said.
“It’s too early to say anything about the Olympics because we haven’t had our [US] Olympic trials yet. But I hope to get into the relay teams so that I can repeat my Osaka feat in Beijing,” she said.
Oliver, who won easily from American Joel Brown (13.38) and Briton Andrew Turner (13.41), said: “I didn’t expect such a good time so early in the season.”
“But I’ve been training hard and hope to maintain this form at the US trials so that I can qualify for the Olympics,” he said.
World and Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner pulled out of the 200m just before the start and fellow American LeShawn Meritt won in 20.08 seconds.
Wariner said he felt a cramp in his right thigh during warmups. He had wanted to run the 200 to sharpen his finishing speed ahead of the Beijing Games.
“It was bad enough not to run and this being the Olympic year and all that,” said Deon Minor, Wariner’s manager. Wariner, watching the race in the stands, declined to comment.
There was a surprise winner the women’s 1500m with Romania’s Liliana Popescu overtaking front runner Viola Kibiwot of Kenya in the final straight. Multiple world and Olympic 800m champion Maria Mutola of Mozambique came in fifth
Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic won her 23rd straight high jump with a leap of 2.03m. It was the 20th competition in a row in which she cleared 2m. She was the only jumper to pass the 2m barrier on Friday.
Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure won the men’s 100 in 10.01, edging Darrell Brown of Trinidad and Tobago by 0.01. Jamaica’s Michael Frater was third in 10.08.
The Gambian-born Saidy Ndure, who moved to Oslo in 2002 to join his father who had lived in Norway since the 1970s, limped through the last meters and had to pull out of the 200m.