Justin Gatlin ‘like Mike Tyson’ in Shanghai win; Diamond League recap

Justin Gatlin
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Justin Gatlin said his coach is training him “like Mike Tyson” in the Olympic year. Gatlin continued to knock out all non-Usain Bolt opponents in his first Diamond League race of 2016 on Saturday.

The World silver medalist won a 100m in 9.94 seconds in Shanghai (video), topping a field that didn’t include Bolt or World bronze medalists Trayvon Bromell or Andre De Grasse.

Gatlin was slowed by a severely rolled ankle in the fall but looked smooth — if not especially fast — to move to 30-2 in outdoor 100m and 200m events since the start of 2014, according to Tilastopaja.org.

Those two defeats were stinging, runner-ups to Bolt in the 100m and 200m at the World Championships last August.

It took Gatlin plenty of time to get over those losses, but he sounded ultra confident after prevailing in Shanghai on Saturday.

“[My coach] is training me like Mike Tyson to knock out the opposition and keep swinging,” Gatlin said, according to the IAAF.

Gatlin’s time of 9.94 paled in comparison to his 9.74 in his Diamond League opener last year, run with a .9 m/s tailwind.

Bolt, who had an ankle injury of his own in the winter, will race for the first time since Worlds later Saturday in a 100m in the Cayman Islands.

Full Shanghai results

In other Shanghai events, Olympic and World champion and world-record holder David Rudisha was passed for the lead in the final straightaway of the 800m and faded to fifth (video).

Rudisha was not set when the starter’s gun went off and dawdled his first few strides, raising his arms and looking from side to side in confusion as an official had to back out of the lane to his outside about 10 meters ahead of him.

An upset Rudisha estimated he lost two seconds due to the premature start, according to the IAAF.

“There were high jumpers in the lane, and they start,” Rudisha said.

Fellow Kenyans swept the top three, while U.S. champion Nick Symmonds was 10th of 11 finishers in his first race since August, running with tape over a temporary T-Mobile tattoo on his right shoulder due to IAAF sponsor regulations.

Olympic champion Aries Merritt was disqualified from the 110m hurdles for having too quick of a reaction time, an unwelcome obstacle in his comeback from a Sept. 1 kidney transplant. Jamaican Omar McLeod won in 12.98 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.

The Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller took the 400m. Miller ran an unimpressive 50.45 but remains the fastest woman in the world this year (49.69 from April 16) and the top rival to World champion Allyson Felix.

The 2011 World champion Jenny Simpson finished sixth in the 1500m, 7.74 seconds behind Kenyan winner Faith Kipyegon.

Sam Kendricks became the first U.S. man to win a Diamond League pole vault competition, clearing a personal-best 5.88 meters to upset Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France. Kendricks, 23, was the top American at 2015 Worlds in ninth place.

World champion Joe Kovacs was upset in the shot put by fellow American Kurt Roberts. Kovacs’ top throw was 20.82 meters. Roberts launched 21.40, which was .07 off his personal best.

Roberts is now in the mix for one of three spots on the Olympic team with Kovacs and Olympic medalists Reese Hoffa and Christian Cantwell, among others.

The Diamond League continues with a meet in Rabat, Morocco, on May 22.

VIDEO: Boy asks Usain Bolt what is 1 plus 2

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”