Sha’Carri Richardson earned her biggest win since the Tokyo Olympic Trials, and the most prestigious international race victory of her career at the Diamond League season opener in Doha on Friday.
Richardson won the 100m in 10.76 seconds, the world’s best time this year, beating a field that included the last two world 200m champions — Jamaican Shericka Jackson and Brit Dina Asher-Smith, who were second and third.
“I found my peace back on the track, and I’m not letting anything or anybody take that anymore,” she said, adding that she got “kicked out” of the 100m at her last meet in Botswana last Saturday, where she ran the 200m instead.
Richardson also prevailed over most of the rest of the top Americans, including 2022 U.S. champion Melissa Jefferson and TeeTee Terry, who anchored the U.S. to the 2022 World 4x100m relay title. She is the only U.S. woman to break 10.80 seconds since the start of 2017, and she has done it five times.
That bodes very well for Richardson’s chances at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three in the 100m are in line to qualify for August’s world championships in Budapest (plus more for the relay).
Richardson came into Doha in good form, having run a wind-aided 10.57 on April 8, the fourth-fastest all-conditions 100m in history. The 4.1 meter/second tailwind was twice above the legal limit.
“Y’all say I’m back,” Richardson said before Doha. “I’m not back. I’m better.”
She has yet to compete in a global championship.
In 2019, Richardson entered nationals ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 100m. She placed eighth after an exhausting NCAA season at LSU.
In 2021, she won the Olympic Trials but had that result disqualified after testing positive for marijuana, which is banned in competition but not out of competition.
Last year, she was eliminated in the 100m first round at nationals.
“I feel like I ain’t done, and I’m the queen,” Richardson said then.
Full Doha results are here. The next Diamond League meet is in Rabat, Morocco, on May 28.
In other events Friday, world 100m champ Fred Kerley surged past Olympic and world 200m silver medalist Kenny Bednarek to win the 200m in 19.92 seconds. Andre De Grasse, the Olympic 200m champ from Canada, was sixth. Michael Norman, the world 400m champ who is moving down to the 100m this season, was last in the eight-man field.
“I would have expected a little faster, but it was all good,” Kerley said. “The main [goal for the season] is finish undefeated and double gold in Budapest.”
Kerley is expected to focus on the 200m at July’s nationals, given he has a bye into the 100m at worlds as defending champ. Kerley was eliminated in the 200m semifinals at last summer’s worlds, saying he suffered a left leg cramp. Noah Lyles, who wasn’t in Doha, won the world 200m in an American record 19.31 seconds.
Olympic and world champion Katie Moon won the pole vault with a 4.81-meter clearance, best in the world this season. She defeated a field that included the entire top five from last year’s worlds.
Pedro Pichardo of Portugal won a men’s triple jump that included the three men who swept the medals at the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Worlds. Pichardo, the Olympic and world champion, recorded a 17.91-meter leap. American Christian Taylor, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion who missed Tokyo with a ruptured Achilles, was ninth.
Olympic champ Neeraj Chopra of India won the men’s javelin that included the top four from last summer’s worlds. Chopra threw 88.67 meters.
American JuVaughn Harrison cleared 2.32 meters to win the high jump over the top two men from last year’s worlds. An American man last won a world high jump medal in 2011.
Winfred Yavi of Bahrain won a deep women’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:04.38.
World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya was fourth. World bronze medalist Mekides Abebe of Ethiopia was eighth. American Emma Coburn, the 2017 World champion, was 10th after falling early in the race after contact with another runner going over a barrier. Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganada was the last finisher in 11th. U.S. Olympian Val Constien pulled out after injuring her right leg landing a water jump.
The race lacked world champion Norah Jeruto of Kazakhstan, who last month was provisionally banned in a doping case involving her biological passport. It also didn’t have world silver medalist Werkuha Getachew of Ethiopia, who last raced in February.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, Rai Benjamin, the Olympic and world silver medalist, barely held off fellow American CJ Allen to win by 15 hundredths in 47.78. Benjamin said he did not practice in the last week because he had “pretty bad” COVID, a year after getting COVID at the Doha meet.
The race lacked Olympic champion Karsten Warholm of Norway, who usually opens his season later in the spring, and world champion Alison dos Santos of Brazil, who is out indefinitely with a meniscus injury in his right knee.
Olympic champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico took the 100m hurdles in 12.48 seconds, distancing U.S. silver medalist Alaysha Johnson (12.66) and 2019 World champion Nia Ali (12.69). Nigerian Tobi Amusan, who last year won the world title and broke the world record, was not in the field.
Ethiopian Lamecha Girma, the Olympic and world silver medalist in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, won the flat 3000m in 7:26.18.
The field for the 3000m, which is not an Olympic event, included Olympic and world steeple champ Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, 2019 World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya and Olympic 10,000m gold medalist Selemon Barega of Ethiopia.
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