Justin Gatlin runs world’s fastest 100m since August 2012

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Justin Gatlin ran the fastest 100m in the world since August 2012 in the season-opening Diamond League meet in Doha on Friday.

And he thinks he can go faster.

Gatlin clocked 9.74 seconds with a .9 m/s tailwind (anything under 2.0 is legal), continuing his hot form from an undefeated 2014 (full meet results here). The 2004 Olympic champion knocked .03 off his personal best, at 33 years old and five years removed from a four-year doping ban.

“My coach said come out and make a statement this season,” Gatlin said on beIN Sport. “I don’t know what everybody’s thinking, but I definitely can go faster. Towards the end of the race, my legs felt a little twingey. … My hamstring has been a little twingey for, like, the last half a week. I’ve had them worked on by my therapist.”

The time dwarfs Usain Bolt‘s only 100m of 2015, a 10.12 into a headwind last month. Gatlin and Bolt haven’t gone head to head since 2013 and might not do so again until the World Championships in Beijing in August.

“That was for him [Bolt],” Gatlin said of his 9.74, according to The Associated Press.

In other events Friday, Allyson Felix won a 200m in 21.98, the fastest time in the world since Felix’s 21.88 to capture Olympic gold in 2012, and the fastest she’s ever run this early in a year. Felix tore a hamstring in the 2013 World Championships final and came back to run 22.02 on Sept. 5, previously the fastest time since the London Olympics. Felix, 29, has said she’s focusing on the 200m and the 400m this season leading up to the World Championships in Beijing in August.

“The schedule doesn’t really allow to do two [both the 200m and 400m at Worlds],” Felix said in an IAAF interview after her race. “I’ll make a decision. I have to see what happens at Nationals first [in June].”

At Worlds, the women’s 200m semifinals and 400m final are separated by 70 minutes.

Felix’s top recent challengers in the 200m, including Jamaican Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, were not in the Doha field.

Olympic and World 5000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah was beaten in a 3000m race by Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet by .14.

American Jasmin Stowers won the 100m hurdles in 12.35, making her the third-fastest American of all time behind 2013 World champion Brianna Rollins (12.26) and retired three-time World champion Gail Devers (12.33).

Stowers has run 12.40 or faster three times since April 25 after coming into the year with a personal best of 12.71. She defeated the last two Olympic champions in Doha — Sally Pearson (fourth, 12.69) and Dawn Harper-Nelson (eighth, 13.24).

In the 400m, Francena McCorory defeated countrywoman and Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross, 50.21 to 50.79. The two fastest women in the world last year, Richards-Ross had handed McCorory a similar sounding defeat in Kingston, Jamaica, on Saturday, with a faster 49.95.

Richards-Ross said she had the flu and didn’t sleep the night before, according to the meet website.

Bershawn Jackson won the 400m hurdles in 48.09 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. Jackson, 32, took bronze at the 2008 Olympics, then missed the 2012 Olympic team and fell in the 2013 World Championships semifinals. He was the third-fastest American in the event in 2014.

Jackson defeated the fastest man in the world from last year, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, by .87. The fastest American each of the last three years, Olympic and World silver medalist Michael Tinsley, was not in the Doha field.

In the triple jump, Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo and U.S. Olympic champion Christian Taylor became the fourth and fifth men to break the 18-meter barrier all time. Pichardo prevailed with an 18.06m jump to Taylor’s 18.04m.

France’s World triple jump champion Teddy Tamgho tweeted that he ruptured an Achilles’ tendon, which likely ends his chances of defending his title in Beijing.

Olympic and World champion Brittney Reese finished fifth in the long jump, won by countrywoman Tianna Bartoletta.

German two-time reigning World champion David Storl took the shot put over, in order, Americans Reese Hoffa, Ryan Whiting and Joe Kovacs.

The Diamond League continues with the second of 14 meets this season in Shanghai on Sunday.

Video: Ashton Eaton’s signature now on his high school track

*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated there were two days between the women’s 400m and women’s 200m at the World Championships.

Tokyo Paralympic triathlon test event cancels swim due to water bacteria

AP
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TOKYO (AP) — High levels of bacteria forced the swimming portion of a triathlon test event for the Tokyo Paralympics to be canceled Saturday.

It’s the second setback in the triathlon for organizers of next year’s Olympics and Paralympics. An Olympic triathlon running event was shortened from 10km to 5km on Thursday because of what the International Triathlon Union (ITU) called “extreme levels” of heat.

Tokyo’s hot and humid summers are a major worry for Olympic organizers. The water issues are a reminder of the Rio Games, when high bacteria and virus levels were found in waters for sailing, rowing and open-water swimming.

In a statement, the ITU said E-coli levels were “more than two times over the ITU limits.” It said the water was at Level 4, the highest risk level.

E-coli bacteria, which normally live in the intestines of animals and people, can produce intestinal pain, diarrhea and a fever.

The venue in Tokyo Bay, called Odaiba, has been a concern for organizers, who have experimented with different measures to clean the water in the area, located in an urban part of central Tokyo.

The ITU is scheduled to hold it final test event on Sunday “depending on the latest water quality tests”, it said in a statement.

A few days ago the ITU described water quality conditions at the venue as “very good.” However, swimmers at a recent distance swimming event at the same venue complained of foul-smelling water.

The water temperature at the venue on Saturday was 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with the air temperature hovering above 90.

Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya said “we are set to conduct a comprehensive review with the international federation.”

He said a triple-layer underwater screen will be installed for next year’s Olympics, replacing a single-layer.

“Based on the results of multiple research in the past, we believe that the multiple layer screen will assure the successful delivery of the competitions,” he said.

Filthy water plagued the Rio Olympics. The South American city lacks a functioning sanitation system for much of its population. Open water there tested high for bacteria and viruses, which confronted athletes in rowing, sailing and triathlon.

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MORE: Double DQ caps bizarre Tokyo Olympic triathlon test event

Women’s hurdlers take center stage as Diamond League hits crunch time; how to watch

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A showdown between world record holder Kendra Harrison (U.S.), reigning Olympic champion Brianna McNeal (U.S.) and 2019 world leader Danielle Williams (Jamaica) in the women’s 100-meter hurdles is the marquee event of the Diamond League meet Sunday in Birmingham, England.

With the track and field world championships not starting this year until Sept. 28, the Diamond League gets an uninterrupted run to its season finales Aug. 29 in Zurich and Sept. 6 in Brussels. The 32 Diamond League events are split between the two finales, with a $50,000 prize awaiting the winner of each final.

The last two meets before those finales — Sunday’s meet and the Aug. 24 meet in Paris — are all about qualifying for a shot at those final jackpots.

Birmingham will be the last chance to win points in the men’s 400m, women’s long jump, women’s 1,500m/mile, men’s javelin, women’s 100m hurdles, men’s 100m and women’s 200m. It’s the second-to-last chance in the women’s discus, women’s pole vault, men’s 400m hurdles, men’s high jump, women’s 3000m steeplechase and women’s 800m.

NBC Sports Gold streams live and commercial-free on Sunday, starting with field events at 7:15 a.m. Eastern and track events kicking off at 9 a.m. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA airs coverage Monday at 4 p.m.

The women’s 100m hurdles also features two Americans who need points to reach the final — Nia Ali and Queen Claye.

Other American athletes aiming to improve solid chances of qualifying include Raevyn Rogers (women’s 800m), Jenn Suhr (women’s pole vault), Mike Rodgers (men’s 100m), Valarie Allman (women’s discus), Michael Cherry (men’s 400m), Kahmari Montgomery (men’s 400m), Vernon Norwood (men’s 400m), David Kendziera (men’s 400m hurdles), Jeron Robinson (men’s high jump) and Courtney Frerichs (women’s 3,000m steeplechase)

Americans who have already qualified in these events include Ajee Wilson (women’s 800m) and Brittney Reese (women’s long jump), both of whom will be competing in Birmingham,

U.S. qualifiers Jenna Prandini (women’s 200m), Emma Coburn (women’s 3,000m steeplechase) and Sandi Morris (women’s pole vault) will not be in Birmingham. Christian Coleman (100m) withdrew from the meet on Friday, spoiling a showdown with Canada’s Andre De Graase and leaving the potential qualification of Jamaica’s Yohan Blake as the most interesting question.

Americans who may qualify in absentia, pending other results, include Justin Gatlin (100m), Noah Lyles (100m), Jenny Simpson (1,500m), Rai Benjamin (400m hurdles), TJ Holmes (400m hurdles), Michael Norman (men’s 400m), Nathan Strother (men’s 400m) and Fred Kerley (men’s 400m).

In a non-Diamond League event, U.S. champion Craig Engels brings his famous mullet to Birmingham in the 1,500 meters.

Here are the Birmingham entry lists and the current Diamond League standings. The schedule (all times Eastern, x-event not counted toward Diamond League standings):

7:45 a.m. — Women’s Discus
8:02 a.m. — Women’s 100m Hurdles Heat A
8:07 a.m. — Women’s Pole Vault
8:14 a.m. — Women’s 100m Hurdles Heat B
8:26 a.m. — x-Men’s 110m Hurdles
8:46 a.m. — Men’s 100m Heat A
8:55 a.m. — Men’s 100m Heat B
9:03 a.m. — Men’s 400m
9:10 a.m. — Women’s Long Jump
9:13 a.m. — Men’s 400m Hurdles
9:19 a.m. — Men’s High Jump
9:23 a.m. — Women’s Mile
9:33 a.m. — x-Women’s 100m
9:38 a.m. — Men’s Javelin
9:43 a.m. — x-Men’s 1,500m
9:55 a.m. — Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase
10:12 a.m. — x-Men’s 800m
10:22 a.m. — Women’s 100m Hurdles Final
10:32 a.m. — Men’s 100m Final
10:41 a.m. — Women’s 800m
10:52 a.m. — Women’s 200m

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s Pole Vault — 8:07 a.m.
Suhr has no Diamond League points but has the world lead at 4.91 meters. Perennial contenders Katerina Stefanidi (Greece) and Yarisley Silva (Cuba) are also competing.

Men’s 400m — 9:03 a.m.
No one has clinched qualification yet, but Cherry is set to compete in Birmingham and should get through. Americans have the top four spots in the standings — Norman, Cherry, Strother and Kerley.

Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase — 9:55 a.m.
World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and three fellow Kenyans who have all qualified alongside Coburn will have their eyes on records.

Women’s 100m Hurdles — 10:22 a.m. final; 8:02 a.m. heats
Most of the top 12 on the world list this year and most of the hurdles who have clinched spots in the final will be here, including Williams and the American trio of Harrison, Sharika Nelvis and Christina Clemons. McNeal, who will run in the world championships with Harrison and Ali, will not qualify.

Women’s 200m — 10:52 a.m.
Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers, who’s aiming for her third straight world championship, has qualified but will race in Birmingham against equally accomplished sprinters Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas), who has won the last two Diamond League titles at this distance and the 2016 Olympic 400-meter gold, and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, whose list of international honors is lengthy.

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