Athletics-Asher-Smith defeats Richardson in Diamond League opener – Metro US

Athletics-Asher-Smith defeats Richardson in Diamond League opener

Diamond League – Gateshead
Diamond League – Gateshead

GATESHEAD, England (Reuters) -Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith overcame appalling home conditions to destroy a strong field, notably new American golden girl Sha’Carri Richardson, to win the 100 metres in the opening Diamond League meeting of the season on Sunday.

The 200m world champion got a fabulous start and held her form into a fierce headwind of 3.1 metres to win in 11.35 seconds. Fast-finishing Richardson, who ran a startling 10.72 last month, clocked 11.44 for second, with Marie-Josee Ta Lou (11.48) just pipping double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for third.

The meeting took place in cold, wet and windy weather in north-eastern England, although the few thousand fans allowed to attend stayed in their places until the end and were rewarded by Asher-Smith’s morale-boosting run.

“I feel really good,” she said. “Conditions were far from ideal for sprinting but the most important thing is to come away with a good result and a win and I was very happy to do that.”

Richardson, 21, in her first Diamond League outing, said: “I’m definitely proud that I was able to execute and now I know what I need to go back and work on and what I need to get better at.

“This won’t be the last time that I’m going to line up against these ladies and I want to let the world know and let the ladies know that I’m here to compete just as well as they’ve done for many years.”

American sprint dominance was re-established in the men’s 200m as Kenny Bednarek was an impressive winner, opening a big lead off the bend and increasing it as he powered home well clear. He clocked 20.33, with Canadian duo Arron Brown (20.79) and Andre de Grasse (20.85) splashing home in his wake.


Jakob Ingebrigtsen delivered another middle distance master class to win the 1,500m in an impressive 3:36.27.

The Norwegian’s tactical awareness seems to be improving with every outing. He hit the front for the last lap and eased clear, almost imperceptibly, to draw the speed out of Australian duo Oliver Hoare and Stewart McSweyn who finished second and third.

“This is normal weather back in the west coast of Norway – I’m used to these conditions,” said Ingebrigtsen. “It’s really tricky to run fast in these conditions and it turned out to be a tactical race.”

Scotland’s Laura Muir has also spent plenty of time in the rain and she obliterated the field in the women’s 1,500m to come home in 4:03.73.

Spaniard Mohamed Katir also produced a gutsy last lap to win the 5,000m in a personal best 13:08.52, with Kenyan Nicholas Kimeli (13:10.11) breathing down his neck until the final metres

Poland’s Kamila Licwinko won the women’s high jump after clearing 1.91 metres to end world champion Mariya Lasitskene’s run of 14 event wins as the Russian finished fourth.

Fellow Pole Marcin Krukowski donned a woolly hat with built-in pony tails and he might keep it on in the future after producing a series of 80 metre-plus throws, including a best of 82.61 two win the men’s javelin.

Italian Filippo Randazzo took the win in the men’s long jump with a monster leap of 8.11m in the shootout. “For me, it’s a dream,” he said. “I watched the Diamond League when I was young and today I’ve won. I have no words.”

American Sam Kendricks emerged victorious from the latest of his pole vault battles with Mondo Duplantis – helped by the world record holder, who held an umbrella above the world champion as he prepared his run-up.

Kendricks won with 5.74 metres to the 5.55m of Sweden’s Duplantis, who thought he had cleared 5.80 with his last jump of the day, only to see the bar wobble then fall.

The next round of Diamond League action is in Doha on Friday.

(Reporting by Mitch Philllips and Rohith Nair; Editing by Ken Ferris)