Kenya’s world record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha had to work hard to secure victory over Ethiopian teenager Mohammed Aman in the 800m at the opening Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha on Friday.
London Games sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica won the women’s 200 and American Justin Gatlin snatched victory in the men’s 100 as a host of Olympic medalists began their build up to August’s world championships in Moscow.
Gatlin, who claimed Olympic bronze behind Jamaica’s absent Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake came through in the last 20m to win in 9.97 seconds, 0.02 ahead of compatriot Michael Rodgers and Jamaican Nesta Carter who were given the same time.
The men’s 800 was billed as a head-to-head between Rudisha and Aman, the only man to beat him in the past two years.
With the pack bunching up behind Rudisha on the final lap, it looked as though the Kenyan was under pressure.
Rudisha kicked with about 200 to go but failed to shake off Aman before finally easing away down the home straight to win in a world leading 1:43.87.
Botswana’s world champion Amantle Montsho also timed her race to perfection to end Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix’s 10-race winning streak in Doha with victory in the 400.
Felix had gone off quickly at the start but tired in the home straight and Montsho pulled ahead to win in 49.88 seconds.
Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu made her customary late surge for the line, but finished third.
There was some cheer for the home crowd in the high jump when Qatar’s Olympic bronze medalist Mutaz Essa Barshim finished second to Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko, who cleared 2.33m to set a meeting record.