Allyson Felix got her outdoor season off to the perfect start as she raced to victory in the 400m at the opening Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday.
The three-time world 200m champion was happy with her outing as she trains toward possibly attempting a 200m-400m double at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea that runs from Aug. 27 until Sept. 4.
Felix held off a spirited comeback from Botswana’s Amantle Montsho to coast to the win in a world lead of 50.33 seconds.
“It’s a decent time, nothing special,” the Los Angeles native said. “We went out very conservatively
However, there was no such dream start to the outdoor season for Felix’s teammate Lolo Jones, for whom a bout of debilitating sciatica put paid to her indoor season.
Jones, the two-time world indoor champion, had to be happy with third in the 100m hurdles (12.67 seconds) behind compatriots Kellie Wells (12.58 seconds) and Danielle Carruthers (12.64 seconds).
Even worse was to come for France’s Renaud Lavillenie, who failed to progress beyond 5.5m in the men’s pole vault, far off the French record of 6.03m he set when winning European indoor gold in Paris in March.
The event was eventually won by Germany’s Malte Mohr (5.81m).
France’s Teddy Tamgho dominated the triple jump, winning easily with a best leap of 17.49m ahead of Leevan Sands of the Bahamas and Alexis Copello of Cuba.
Kenya’s 1500m Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop showed his versatility by storming to victory in the 800m in 1 minute, 44.74 seconds, ahead of the UK’s Michael Rimmer and compatriot Alfred Yego, the 2007 world champion.
In the absence through injury of world record holder David Rudisha of Kenya and two-time world indoor champion Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, Kiprop was in control from start to finish.
Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew became the ninth fastest athlete over 3000m (7:27.26), sprinting home ahead of vaunted Kenyan duo Edwin Soi and Eliud Kipchoge.
Since the Kingston International Invitational meet scheduled for yesterday in Jamaica, the leading US and Jamaican sprinters opted to compete there, and Doha organizers here eventually decided late on to scrap the men’s 100m.
Walter Dix, who won double Olympic bronze in Beijing, was one US sprinter to make the trip to Doha and he won the 200m comfortably in 20.06 seconds.
Louis van Zyl (48.11 seconds) and Cornel Fredericks notched up a South African one-two in the men’s 400m hurdles, pushing US defending world and Olympic bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson into third.
In field events, Estonia’s world and Olympic champion Gerd Kanter left it late in the men’s discus, managing a best of 67.49m on his final attempt to trump 39-year-old rival Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania.
It was a repeat in the men’s shot put, with Canadian Dylan Armstrong (21.38m) also keeping his best until last.
The US’ Funmi Jimoh wrapped up the women’s long jump with a world lead of 6.88m, ahead of Brazilia’s Olympic champion Maurren Maggi.