Elaine Thompson

Yohan Blake, Andre De Grasse beaten at London Diamond League

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South African Akani Simbine beat Olympic medalists Yohan Blake and Andre De Grasse in the London Diamond League 100m on Saturday.

Simbine, fifth at the most recent Olympics and world championships, clocked 9.93 seconds at the 2012 Olympic Stadium. He held off Brit Zharnel Hughes (9.95), while the 2012 Olympic silver medalist Blake was third (9.97) and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist De Grasse was fifth (9.99).

The race lacked the fastest men of 2019 — Americans Christian Coleman (9.81), Noah Lyles (9.86) and Justin Gatlin (9.87) and NCAA champion Divine Oduduru of Nigeria (9.86).

The meet concludes Sunday, live on NBC Sports Gold at 8:50 a.m. ET. U.S. stars are skipping this stop to prepare for the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships next weekend, where world championships spots are at stake.

In other events Saturday, world championships 800m favorite Nijel Amos of Botswana was wheeled off in a chair after grabbing the back of his right upper leg and stopping just after the start of the race. Eight days ago, Amos clocked the world’s fastest 800m since David Rudisha‘s world record at the London Olympics.

In his absence, Kenyan Ferguson Rotich won in 1:43.14, which was 1.25 seconds off Amos’ time from the previous Diamond League meet. Rudisha hasn’t competed in two years due to injury.

In the 5000m, Norwegian 18-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen lowered his personal best by 15.04 seconds in finishing second to Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet, who won by .17 of a second in 13:01.86. Ingebrigtsen ranks Nos. 2 and 9 in the world this year in the 1500m (his best event) and the 5000m. Gebrhiwet won two weeks after miscounting laps in the Lausanne Diamond League, celebrating 400 meters too early and ending up 10th.

World 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm broke the European record in 47.12, the seventh-fastest time in history. Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba and American Rai Benjamin, who went faster in 2018, were not in Saturday’s race.

Jamaican Danielle Williams won the 100m hurdles in 12.32 seconds, a national record and the world’s fastest time in two years. World-record holder Kendra Harrison and Olympic champion Brianna McNeal were not in the field.

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson took the 200m in 22.13, the fourth-fastest in the world this year. Thompson owns the fastest time of 2019, a 22.00 from the Jamaican Championships on June 23.

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Noah Lyles meets Justin Gatlin, fate in Monaco; TV, stream schedule

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Noah Lyles‘ immediate future in the 100m could ride on what happens in Monaco on Friday.

Lyles and world champion Justin Gatlin headline a Diamond League meet, two weeks before each is to appear at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Monaco streaming starts at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, with TV coverage at 2 p.m. on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

Lyles, 21 and the world’s top 200m sprinter, will reportedly decide after the meet whether to enter both the 100m and the 200m or simply the latter at nationals, the qualifying meet for the world championships in Doha in late September/early October.

Lyles, who just missed the 2016 Olympic team out of high school and could not compete at 2017 Worlds due to injury, has long said he will focus on strictly the 200m at nationals and worlds.

“Until I see something in the 100m that is very definitive of, I can walk away with a [world championships 100m] medal and still be able to get away with a gold in the 200m, it’s going to be the 200m in Doha right now,” Lyles said last month.

The 100m final at worlds is Sept. 28. The 200m starts with heats Sept. 29.

Lyles ranks second in the world this year in the 100m behind world championships favorite Christian Coleman (who is not in Monaco). He is fastest in the world this year in the 200m by a comfortable two tenths of a second. And the world’s second-fastest 200m sprinter, Michael Norman, is expected to sit out the event in favor of the 400m.

Still, Lyles speaks like a man who has never competed at a global championship.

“The Gold isn’t mine till I physically hold it my hands,” Lyles tweeted after clocking that 19.50 on Friday, making him the fourth-fastest man in history behind Usain BoltYohan Blake and Michael Johnson. It was in response to NBC Sports analyst Ato Boldon suggesting Lyles should double in the 100m and 200m as he is already expected to take the 200m crown.

Here are the Monaco entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Thursday
1 p.m. — Women’s Triple Jump

Friday
1:30 p.m. — Men’s Javelin
1:35 — Men’s Pole Vault
2 — Women’s High Jump
2:03 — Women’s 400m Hurdles
2:15 — Women’s 800m
2:25 — Men’s 400m
2:35 — Men’s 1500m
2:40 — Men’s Triple Jump
2:50 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
3 — Men’s 800m
3:10 — Women’s 200m
3:20 — Women’s Mile
3:35 — Men’s 100m
3:45 — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s 400m Hurdles — 2:03 p.m. ET
Sydney McLaughlin, the 19-year-old hurdles wunderkind, puts her two-year win streak on the line against the last two world champions (countrywoman Kori Carter and Czech Zuzana Hejnová) and Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer. McLaughlin won her Diamond League 400m hurdles debut in Oslo on June 13 despite hitting the first hurdle. Here she can take aim at the fastest time in the world this year, a 53.61 set by Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad, who is not in the Monaco field.

Men’s 1500m — 2:25 p.m. ET
Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot has strengthened his grip on this event in recent weeks. The world silver medalist won the Pre Classic mile and then clocked the world’s fastest 1500m in nearly a year in Lausanne last Friday. Challengers include 18-year-old Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who clocked the second-fastest time in the world this year in taking runner-up to Cheruiyot in Lausanne. Monaco has produced the fastest 1500m time in the world in six of the last seven years.

Men’s Triple Jump — 2:40 p.m. ET
Will Claye, silver medalist at the last two Olympics, spiced up the triple jump by leaping 18.14 meters on Jun 29 to join the 18 club and become No. 3 all-time in the event behind 2000 Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards and 2012 and 2016 gold medalist Christian Taylor. Taylor is in the Monaco field. As is the No. 3 active triple jumper, Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo.

Women’s 200m — 3:10 p.m. ET
Olympic 200m champion Elaine Thompson takes on Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo for the first time since April 2018. Thompson is fastest in the world this year at 22.00, while Miller-Uibo has clocked 21.88 back in 2017. This is the Bahamian Miller-Uibo’s first 200m of this season. She’s already the 2019 world leader in the 400m. But the 200m and 400m overlap at worlds, which forces Miller-Uibo to pick one event in Doha.

Men’s 100m — 3:35 p.m. ET
Lyles and Gatlin face off for just the second time. The first was in the 200m at the 2016 Olympic trials, where Gatlin won and Lyles finished fourth, just missing making the Olympic team at 18 years old. Two of the other top U.S. men, Mike Rodgers and Craven Gillespie, are in this field. As is Nigerian Divine Oduduru, the NCAA champion from Texas Tech.

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Pre Classic: Olympic champions on the comeback; TV, stream schedule

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The Prefontaine Classic relocated, temporarily, and it brought the best fields of the Diamond League season with it to Stanford, Calif.

That includes the world’s fastest man and woman this year (Christian Coleman and Elaine Thompson), the athlete who has made the most worldwide headlines this season (Caster Semenya) and a bevy of other reigning Olympic and world champions.

Notably, Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia and Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon will compete for the first time since 2017. World 100m champions Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie are in their first Diamond League meets in more than one year. It’s the first Diamond League in two years for 2008 Olympic 400m champ LaShawn Merritt. It’s also the first race of 2019 for Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz.

NBC and NBC Sports Gold air live coverage Sunday from 4-6 p.m. ET.

The Pre Classic has been held annually since 1975 in Eugene, Ore. But Hayward Field’s reconstruction ahead of the 2020 Olympic Trials forced a move to Cobb Track and Angell Field at Stanford.

Here are the Pre Classic entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

3:43 p.m. — Men’s Pole Vault
3:57 — Women’s Shot Put
4:03 — Men’s 400m Hurdles
4:08 — Women’s High Jump
4:11 — Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
4:27 — Women’s 100m
4:34 — Men’s 2 Mile
4:47 — Women’s 800m
4:56 — Men’s 110m Hurdles
5:01 — Men’s Shot Put
5:05 — Women’s 3000m
5:19 — Men’s 400m
5:25 — Women’s 200m
5:31 — Women’s 1500m
5:39 — Men’s 100m
5:51 — Men’s Mile

Here are 10 events to watch (stats courtesy Tilastopaja.org):

Men’s Pole Vault — 3:43 p.m.
The Big Three of the event meet for the first time this season: 2012 Olympic champion and world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France, 2017 World champion Sam Kendricks and 2018 and 2019 world leader Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, who just turned pro after his freshman year at LSU. Lavillenie has competed just once this season due to injury. Duplantis was beaten at NCAAs by Chris Nilsen (also in the Pre field). But Kendricks has been hot, winning the first three Diamond League pole vaults this season (though Lavillenie and Nilsen weren’t in any of those fields and Duplantis just one).

Women’s High Jump — 4:08 p.m.
U.S. champion Vashti Cunningham takes another crack at Russian Mariya Lasitskene, who has just two losses in the last three years. Cunningham is 0-7 versus Lasitskene but has this spring already bettered her top clearance of 2018. Lasitskene, though, appears in top form after taking three attempts at a world record 2.10 meters in Ostrava last week.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase — 4:11 p.m.
Six of the eight fastest in history, headlined by world gold and silver medalists Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs. The only time either Coburn or Frerichs won a steeple that included any of the four fastest Kenyans in history was at those 2017 Worlds. Another chance Sunday.

Women’s 100m — 4:27 p.m.
NCAA champion Sha’Carri Richardson would have been the favorite here in her pro debut if not for what happened Friday. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a two-time Olympic 100m champion, clocked her fastest time in six years (10.73 seconds) to become the fastest mom in history and No. 2 in the world this year behind Rio gold medalist Elaine Thompson. Also watch reigning world champ Tori Bowie, who is coming back from a quad tear and coaching change.

Women’s 800m — 4:47 p.m.
Caster Semenya races her trademark event for the first time since a Swiss Supreme Court ruled her eligible while it deliberates on her appeal against a Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to uphold an IAAF rule capping testosterone in women’s events from the 400m through the mile. The Swiss court ruling applies only to Semenya and not the other Rio Olympic medalists, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui, who are also affected by the new rule. So Semenya’s closest threat at Pre is American record holder Ajeé Wilson, but Semenya has won 30 straight 800m races dating to 2015.

Men’s Shot Put — 5:01 p.m.
Olympic champion Ryan Crouser had a sterling record at Hayward Field, taking NCAA, Pre Classic and Olympic Trials titles. He’s pretty strong in California, too, recording his personal best (22.74 meters) in Long Beach in April. Nobody has been within a foot and a half of that this season, but the last two world champions (New Zealand’s Tom Walsh and American Joe Kovacs) will try to snap his undefeated 2019 on Sunday.

Men’s 400m — 5:19 p.m.
Lost some sizzle with the withdrawal of 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James, who has missed time with Graves’ disease and, more recently, his mother’s death. Instead, the three fastest Americans of the last decade line up — 2018 and 2019 world leader Michael Norman (43.45 from April 20), 2017 world No. 2 Fred Kerley and 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt.

Women’s 200m — 5:25 p.m.
Strongest sprint field of the meet: 2016 Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, 2015 and 2017 World champion Dafne Schippers and 2018 world leader Dina Asher-Smith. Should produce the fastest time in the world this year, which is currently 22.16, and the favorite for world champs.

Men’s 100m — 5:39 p.m.
Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman go head-to-head for the first time since the 2017 Worlds, where Gatlin took gold, Usain Bolt silver and Coleman bronze. Coleman is the world’s fastest man this Olympic cycle (9.79) and this year (9.85). Gatlin, 37, hasn’t broken 10 seconds since beating Bolt but has a bye to defend his title in Doha in September.

Men’s Mile — 5:51 p.m.
Olympic 1500m champ Matthew Centrowitz races on the track for the first time since July 22, eyeing his first win in the Pre mile in his sixth try. The foes are formidable, including the top two milers since Rio — Kenyans Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi — Norwegian brothers Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, who on March 3 broke the 22-year-old indoor mile world record. Nobody has been within four seconds of the outdoor mile word record (Hicham El Guerrouj‘s 3:43.13 in 1999) since 2007.

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