Ronnie Baker beats injured Christian Coleman again in Rome (video)

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Christian Coleman, bothered by a right leg injury, eased up before finishing fourth in a 100m in Rome on Thursday. Countryman Ronnie Baker beat Coleman for the second time in a week.

Baker, a 24-year-old who has not made an Olympic or world outdoor championships team, clocked a personal-best 9.93 seconds into a slight headwind, the fastest wind-legal time in the world since August.

Coleman, who finished between Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt at the 2017 Worlds and ran faster than the indoor 60m world record three times in the winter, crossed in 10.06. It’s the first time Coleman has finished outside the top two of an individual race since he was sixth at the Olympic trials, making the Rio roster in the relay only.

Bolt retired after worlds. The 36-year-old Gatlin was not in the Rome field.

Coleman, who met Pope Francis on Wednesday, said he had “a little injury” in his right hamstring, which was taped Thursday.

“I don’t want to use that as, like, an excuse or anything, but, yeah, it’s bothering me a little bit,” he told media in Rome.

Full Rome results are here.

Baker also beat Coleman at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, running 9.78 with too much of a tailwind for record purposes. Coleman was second at Pre in 9.84.

In other events Thursday, world champion Emma Coburn fell coming out of the last water jump of the 3000m steeplechase. She dropped behind the lead pack and ended up fourth. Olympic silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng led a Kenyan sweep in 9:04.96, with Coburn crossing in 9:08.13.

“I am still satisfied,” Coburn said, according to the IAAF, after her first outdoor race in eight months. “I fell and then there were a lot of bodies and a lot of chaos. I do not think that I can learn from this fall. I have done this a million times. It was just a bad luck day.”

Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba ran the world’s fastest 400m hurdles in nearly eight years, clocking an Asian record 47.48 seconds. The 22-year-old formerly competed for Mauritania.

Samba, seventh in his world champs debut last year, already had the fastest time in the world for the year at 47.57 on May 4, which was also the fastest time ever that early in a year. In Rome, he beat both world champion Karsten Warholm (second place, 47.82, Norwegian record) and Olympic champion Kerron Clement (49.48, sixth place).

Jamaican Fredrick Dacres beat a discus field that included the top seven finishers from the 2017 World Championships. Dacres, fourth at worlds, threw 68.51 meters. He owns the best throw in the world this year of 69.83.

U.S. Olympian Vashti Cunningham finished sixth in the high jump. Russian Maria Lasitskene won with a 1.97-meter clearance, her 40th straight victory dating to 2016, according to Tilastopaja.org

The Diamond League next moves to Oslo on June 7.

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How to watch Rome Diamond League; preview

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In a year without an Olympics or a world outdoor championships, there is no uniform time to peak or single goal for U.S. track and field athletes. Some eye personal-best times and marks. Others a Diamond League season title and the 2019 Worlds bye that can come with it. Still others are tinkering, competing less frequently.

The Diamond League season, now three meets old, has shown this. Just look at Thursday’s meet in Rome, which airs live on NBCSN and streams commercial-free on NBC Sports Gold at 2 p.m. ET.

Of the U.S. Olympic and world medalists entered, some have been on fire in the early outdoor season. Like Brianna McNeal, who beat 100m hurdles world-record holder Kendra Harrison earlier this month after missing of all of 2017 for missing three drug tests.

Others started a little more slowly, like Christian Coleman, the world star of the winter indoor season. Coleman, who ran faster than the 60m world record three times between January and March, withdrew from his first scheduled outdoor meet three weeks ago for precautionary reasons, then was upset at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, citing rustiness.

Emma Coburn hasn’t started at all. Coburn, who led the groundbreaking U.S. one-two in the steeplechase at worlds, races outdoors on Thursday for the first time since September.

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

11:40 a.m. — Women’s Discus
1:20 p.m. — Men’s Discus
1:30 — Men’s Pole Vault
2:03 — Women’s 400m Hurdles
2:10 — Women’s High Jump
2:13 — Men’s 400m Hurdles
2:23 — Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
2:38 — Men’s 800m
2:40 — Men’s Long Jump
2:53 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
3:07 — Women’s 400m
3:16 — Men’s 400m
3:25 — Women’s 200m
3:35 — Men’s 100m
3:50 — Men’s 1500m

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s Discus — 1:20 p.m. ET
The deepest field of the meet, featuring the top seven finishers from the 2017 World Championships, plus Rio gold medalist Christoph Harting, who was shockingly fourth at last year’s German nationals and missed worlds. The American in that group is Mason Finley, who in August became the first U.S. man to earn an Olympic or world championships discus medal since 1999. The Rio Olympian extended his personal best by four feet to take bronze at worlds with a 68.03-meter throw.

Women’s High Jump — 2:10 p.m. ET
American Vashti Cunningham gets her sixth head-to-head with Maria Lasitskene, still seeking her first win over the dominant Russian. Lasitskene has won 39 straight meets dating to 2016 and had the top seven clearances in the world in 2017, indoors or outdoors, according to Tilastopaja.org. However, Olympic heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam cleared 2.01 meters in a heptathlon on Saturday, giving her the top clearance this year. Thiam isn’t competing in Rome, though. Cunningham, the 19-year-old daughter of retired NFL All-Pro quarterback Randall Cunningham, took silver behind Lasitskene at the world indoor championships on March 1, her only defeat in five meets this year.

Men’s 400m Hurdles — 2:13 p.m. ET
All three 2017 World medalists are here, led by the surprise champion Karsten Warholm of Norway and the bronze medalist and Rio Olympic champion, American Kerron Clement. But the favorite has to be Abderrahman Samba of Qatar, who on May 4 clocked the world’s fastest time in nearly eight years and the fastest time ever this early in a year.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase — 2:23 p.m. ET
World champion Emma Coburn races outdoors for the first time in eight months against a field that includes the three fastest Kenyans of all time. That doesn’t include the absent Olympic champion Ruth Jebet, Kenyan-born but representing Bahrain, who hasn’t raced anywhere since Jan. 28 and is reportedly dealing with a doping issue.

Men’s 100m — 3:35 p.m. ET
A rematch between Americans Christian Coleman and Ronnie Baker. Coleman, who finished between Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt at worlds in August, lost his outdoor 100m season opener to Baker at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday. Baker has never finished better than seventh at a U.S. Championships, let alone excelled on the global championship stage like Coleman. Coleman said after Pre he was still working his way into shape after a minor leg injury kept him from competing at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai earlier this month. South African Akani Simbine, who was fifth at the Olympics and worlds, could play spoiler.

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VIDEO: 17-year-old runs 3:52 mile at Pre Classic

Vashti Cunningham takes silver in world indoors high jump

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Vashti Cunningham followed her breakout 2016 World Indoor high jump title with silver to open the biennial global championships in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Thursday.

Russian Maria Lasitskene took gold with a clearance of 1.96 meters (later clearing 2.01 and missing three tries at 2.07). Lasitskene is one of the world’s most dominant athletes, winning her last 38 finals dating to July 2016.

Cunningham, 20, cleared 1.93 meters to grab silver. She missed all three attempts at 1.96 despite clearing that height on her first attempt at her two previous meets this season.

The daughter of retired NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham was 13th at the Rio Olympics and 10th at last year’s world championships as a teenager. She is experienced yet also the youngest member of the 53-athlete U.S. roster in Birmingham.

Cunningham won the 2016 World Indoor title against a field that did not include Lasitskene but did include Spaniard Ruth Beitia, who went on to win the Rio Olympics and then retire last year.

In the men’s high jump Thursday, Russian Danil Lysenko upset Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim by clearing 2.36 meters for gold. Barshim had the world’s best clearances each of the last four years and relegated Lysenko to silver at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships.

American Erik Kynard, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, took fourth.

Later Thursday, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba won her third straight world title in the 3000m. The indoor mile world-record holder went to the lead with 1000m to go and prevailed by .63 of a second in 8:45.05.

Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan held off Brit Laura Muir by one tenth for silver. The top American was Olympic 5000m finalist Shelby Houlihan in fifth.

World Indoors continues through Sunday on NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold, highlighted by new 60m sprint world-record holder Christian Coleman.

World Indoors marks the lone global meet of the year, since outdoor worlds are held in odd-numbered years, and the next Olympics are in 2020.

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WORLD INDOORS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule