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.

Faith Kipyegon breaks second world record in eight days; three WRs fall in Paris

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Kenyan Faith Kipyegon broke her second world record in as many Fridays as three world records fell at a Diamond League meet in Paris.

Kipyegon, a 29-year-old mom, followed her 1500m record from last week by running the fastest 5000m in history.

She clocked 14 minutes, 5.20 seconds, pulling away from now former world record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who ran 14:07.94 for the third-fastest time in history. Gidey’s world record was 14:06.62.

“When I saw that it was a world record, I was so surprised,” Kipyegon said, according to meet organizers. “The world record was not my plan. I just ran after Gidey.”

Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic 1500m champion, ran her first 5000m in eight years. In the 1500m, her primary event, she broke an eight-year-old world record at the last Diamond League meet in Italy last Friday.

Kipyegon said she will have to talk with her team to decide if she will add the 5000m to her slate for August’s world championships in Budapest.

Next year in the 1500m, she can bid to become the second person to win the same individual Olympic track and field event three times (joining Usain Bolt). After that, she has said she may move up to the 5000m full-time en route to the marathon.

Kipyegon is the first woman to break world records in both the 1500m and the 5000m since Italian Paola Pigni, who reset them in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m over a nine-month stretch in 1969 and 1970.

Full Paris meet results are here. The Diamond League moves to Oslo next Thursday, live on Peacock.

Also Friday, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma broke the men’s 3000m steeplechase world record by 1.52 seconds, running 7:52.11. Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen set the previous record in 2004. Girma is the Olympic and world silver medalist.

Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway ran the fastest two-mile race in history, clocking 7:54.10. Kenyan Daniel Komen previously had the fastest time of 7:58.61 from 1997 in an event that’s not on the Olympic program and is rarely contested at top meets. Ingebrigtsen, 22, is sixth-fastest in history in the mile and eighth-fastest in the 1500m.

Olympic and world silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the 400m in 49.12 seconds, chasing down Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who ran her first serious flat 400m in four years. McLaughlin-Levrone clocked a personal best 49.71 seconds, a time that would have earned bronze at last year’s world championships.

“I’m really happy with the season opener, PR, obviously things to clean up,” said McLaughlin-Levrone, who went out faster than world record pace through 150 meters. “My coach wanted me to take it out and see how I felt. I can’t complain with that first 200m.”

And the end of the race?

“Not enough racing,” she said. “Obviously, after a few races, you kind of get the feel for that lactic acid. So, first race, I knew it was to be expected.”

McLaughlin-Levrone is expected to race the flat 400m at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three are in line to make the world team in the individual 400m. She also has a bye into August’s worlds in the 400m hurdles and is expected to announce after USATF Outdoors which race she will contest at worlds.

Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 100m in 9.97 seconds into a headwind. Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy was seventh in 10.21 in his first 100m since August after struggling through health issues since the Tokyo Games.

Lyles wants to race both the 100m and the 200m at August’s worlds. He has a bye into the 200m. The top three at USATF Outdoors join reigning world champion Fred Kerley on the world championships team. Lyles is the fifth-fastest American in the 100m this year, not counting Kerley, who is undefeated in three meets at 100m in 2023.

Olympic and world silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson won the 800m in 1:55.77, a British record. American Athing Mu, the Olympic and world champion with a personal best of 1:55.04, is expected to make her season debut later this month.

World champion Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 12.98 seconds, becoming the first man to break 13 seconds this year. Holloway has the world’s four best times in 2023.

American Valarie Allman won the discus over Czech Sandra Perkovic in a meeting of the last two Olympic champions. Allman threw 69.04 meters and has the world’s 12 best throws this year.

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Iga Swiatek sweeps into French Open final, where she faces a surprise

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Iga Swiatek marched into the French Open final without dropping a set in six matches. All that stands between her and a third Roland Garros title is an unseeded foe.

Swiatek plays 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova in the women’s singles final, live Saturday at 9 a.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

Swiatek, the top-ranked Pole, swept 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-2, 7-6 (7) in Thursday’s semifinal in her toughest test all tournament. Haddad Maia squandered three break points at 4-all in the second set.

Swiatek dropped just 23 games thus far, matching her total en route to her first French Open final in 2020 (which she won for her first WTA Tour title of any kind). After her semifinal, she signed a courtside camera with the hashtag #stepbystep.

“For sure I feel like I’m a better player,” than in 2020, she said. “Mentally, tactically, physically, just having the experience, everything. So, yeah, my whole life basically.”

Swiatek can become the third woman since 2000 to win three French Opens after Serena Williams and Justine Henin and, at 22, the youngest woman to win four total majors since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Muchova upset No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus to reach her first major final.

Muchova, a 26-year-old into the second week of the French Open for the first time, became the first player to take a set off the powerful Belarusian all tournament, then rallied from down 5-2 in the third set to prevail 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5.

Sabalenka, who overcame previous erratic serving to win the Australian Open in January, had back-to-back double faults in her last service game.

“Lost my rhythm,” she said. “I wasn’t there.”

Muchova broke up what many expected would be a Sabalenka-Swiatek final, which would have been the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 match at the French Open since Williams beat Maria Sharapova in the 2013 final.

Muchova is unseeded, but was considered dangerous going into the tournament.

In 2021, she beat then-No. 1 Ash Barty to make the Australian Open semifinals, then reached a career-high ranking of 19. She dropped out of the top 200 last year while struggling through injuries.

“Some doctors told me maybe you’ll not do sport anymore,” Muchova said. “It’s up and downs in life all the time. Now I’m enjoying that I’m on the upper part now.”

Muchova has won all five of her matches against players ranked in the top three. She also beat Swiatek in their lone head-to-head, but that was back in 2019 when both players were unaccomplished young pros. They have since practiced together many times.

“I really like her game, honestly,” Swiatek said. “I really respect her, and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches, and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”

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