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Caster Semenya sets national record in Doha, dismisses ‘nonsense’ rule

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Caster Semenya lowered her 1500m national record, then reportedly dismissed questions about a new IAAF rule limiting female testosterone levels in her events.

“I don’t talk about nonsense,” the Olympic and world 800m champion said at the Diamond League opener in Doha on Friday, according to multiple reports, echoing her response to a similar question last August.

South Africa’s Olympic Committee said Semenya, whom track officials mandated undergo gender testing in 2009, is expected to be affected by the rule planned to go into effect Nov. 1. South Africa’s track and field federation has said it will see that the rule is challenged to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Semenya broke four minutes for the first time in the 1500m in the Qatar capital on Friday.

She moved from fifth to first in the last lap against a field that lacked any of the other top seven women from the 2016 Olympics or 2017 Worlds. Semenya earned 1500m bronze at last year’s worlds to complement her 800m title.

Full Doha meet results are here.

In other events, Kendra Harrison edged Brianna McNeal in a matchup of world-record holder and Olympic champion in the 100m hurdles. McNeal led early but clipped the eighth of 10 hurdles and ended up .05 behind Harrison, who clocked 12.53 seconds, well off her record of 12.20. It was McNeal’s first international meet since the Rio Games and a yearlong ban for missing three drug tests.

American Noah Lyles won the men’s 200m in a personal-best 19.83. Surprise world champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey was third in 20.11, and Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada was sixth in 20.46. Lyles, 20, won last season’s Diamond League final but missed worlds because he withdrew from the U.S. Championships with a hamstring strain.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou prevailed in the women’s 100m in a personal-best 10.85, the fastest time in the world this year. Jamaican Elaine Thompson, the Olympic champion, was third in 10.93, marking her second 100m loss since the start of 2016. World champion Tori Bowie of the U.S. was not in the Doha field.

World silver medalist Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas took the 400m in a national record 43.87 seconds. Only Michael Johnson has run faster this early in a year. The race lacked Olympic champion and world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk, who is coming back from an ACL tear.

Double Olympic champion Christian Taylor was outdueled by Portuguese rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo in the triple jump, 17.95 meters to 17.81.

Abderrahman Samba of Qatar took the men’s 400m hurdles in 47.57, the world’s fastest time in nearly eight years and the fastest time ever this early in a year. Olympic champion Kerron Clement was sixth in 50.19.

The Diamond League moves to Shanghai a week from Saturday, with Christian ColemanJustin Gatlin and De Grasse expected to meet in the 100m.

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Caster Semenya, hurdles showdown headline Diamond League opener

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Caster Semenya races internationally for the first time since last week’s IAAF testosterone announcement at the season-opening Diamond League meet in Doha, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold on Friday.

Live coverage begins at 11:15 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold’s “Track and Field Pass” (commercial-free) and noon on Olympic Channel. NBCSN will air coverage Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

Semenya, the Olympic 800m champion, is entered in the 1500m in Doha against a field lacking any of the other top seven finishers from the 2016 Olympics or 2017 Worlds. Semenya took 1500m bronze at last year’s worlds.

Semenya has not commented publicly on last week’s IAAF announcement that women with high testosterone must reduce those levels by Nov. 1 or will not be allowed in international races between 400m and the mile. South Africa’s Olympic Committee said Semenya, whom track officials mandated undergo gender testing in 2009, is expected to be affected by the ruling.

While Semenya is the standout name in Doha, several other events feature stronger head-to-head matchups, including reigning Olympic and world champions.

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

11:10 a.m. — Women’s Pole Vault
11:15 — Women’s Discus
11:50 — Men’s Triple Jump
Noon — Men’s High Jump
12:03 — Men’s 400m
12:13 — Women’s 1500m
12:26 — Women’s 100m
12:35 — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
12:50 — Men’s Javelin
12:53 — Men’s 400m Hurdles
1:02 — Men’s 1500m
1:15 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
1:25 — Men’s 800m
1:36 — Men’s 200m
1:45 — Women’s 3000m

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s 1500m — 12:13 p.m. ET
Semenya has two defeats in about 20 international meets since the start of 2016, according to Tilastopaja.org. It would be a shock if she gets a third here. Semenya owns the two fastest times of the year in her complementary event. None of the other star 1500m runners — like Olympic and world champion Faith Kipyegon (pregnancy), Olympic and world medalist Jenny Simpson (racing the 3000m in Doha) and world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba — are in this field.

Women’s 100m — 12:26 p.m. ET
Four of the top five sprinters from the 2017 World Championships, missing only gold medalist Tori Bowie. Watch Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, whose only 100m defeat since the start of 2016 came at the 2017 Worlds. But the Jamaican was fourth this year in the world indoor championships 60m and the Commonwealth Games 200m.

Men’s Javelin — 12:50 p.m. ET
Probably the strongest Doha field at the top with the top four from the 2017 World Championships. Germany has the reigning Olympic champion (Thomas Roehler) and world champion (Johannes Vetter), who combined for the top six throws in the world last year. Last year in Doha, Roehler recorded the world’s farthest throw in 20 years, only to see Vetter go farther two months later.

Women’s 100m Hurdles — 1:15 p.m. ET
The five fastest Americans over the last 13 years are in this field — world-record holder Kendra Harrison, 2016 Olympic champion Brianna McNeal, Sharika NelvisJasmin Stowers and 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson. It’s the third time these five women will race together. McNeal races internationally for the first time since leading a U.S. sweep in Rio and then sitting out all of 2017 for missing three drug tests (though never failing one). Harper-Nelson races for the first time since announcing she will retire at the end of the season. Harrison’s only defeats since the start of 2016 were at the Olympic trials and world championships.

Men’s 200m — 1:36 p.m. ET
An intriguing group including surprise world champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada, Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod, promising American Noah Lyles and Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago. With Usain Bolt retired and Wayde van Niekerk absent and coming off a knee tear, there is no clear-cut king of the 200m at the moment.

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Christian Coleman’s sprint reign begins with world indoor title (video)

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Christian Coleman‘s time is now.

The U.S. Olympian won the 60m at the world indoor championships in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Saturday, his first of what could be years’ worth of global gold medals.

Coleman clocked 6.37 seconds to top China’s Su Bingtian by .05 of a second. Coleman is the only man to run faster than 6.39 all time, and he’s done it three times in the last two months (twice under world-record conditions).

Coleman was merely a preliminary 4x100m relay runner in Rio after his sophomore year at the University of Tennessee, but his last year has been incredible:

*A 40-yard dash one tenth faster than the NFL Combine record
*Swept NCAA 60m, 100m and 200m titles
*Second at the 2017 U.S. Outdoor Championships in the 100m and 200m
*100m silver medal at 2017 World Outdoor Championships between Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt
*
In 2018, ran faster than the 60m world record three times

Gatlin, who skipped the indoor season, is an aged 36. Bolt retired. Coleman, who turns 22 on Tuesday, has to be the early 2020 Olympic 100m favorite.

“I want to make sure I etch my name in history,” Coleman told media before taking a congratulatory phone call from 2000 Olympic 100m champion Maurice Greene, reportedly adding, “I have a good chance to lead the sport in the post-Bolt era.”

On Friday, Coleman said, “I don’t want to be the, you know, next Usain Bolt; I want to be Christian Coleman and, in a few years from now, maybe have people saying, ‘Who’s going to be the next Christian Coleman?'”

WORLD INDOORS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

In other events Saturday, Kendra Harrison won her first global meet medal, a gold in the 60m hurdles. Harrison tied the American record of 7.70 seconds. She shockingly missed the 2016 Olympic team (then broke the 100m hurdles world record at her next meet) and was fourth at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships.

American Sandi Morris won the pole vault with a 4.95-meter clearance. Morris took silver at the most recent world indoor and world outdoor championships and the Rio Olympics.

Will Claye ended his silver streak in the triple jump, leaping 17.43 meters to edge the silver and bronze medalists by two and three centimeters, respectively. Claye took silver at the last two Olympics and last year’s worlds, all behind fellow American Christian Taylor, who is not entered at world indoors.

Courtney Okolo won the 400m in 50.55 seconds, making her the fourth-fastest American all time. Shakima Wimbley made it a U.S. one-two. None of the top five women from the 2016 Olympics or 2017 World Outdoor Championships were entered in Birmingham.

Sydney McLaughlin, who made the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in the 400m hurdles at age 16, remains the fastest woman in the 400m this season with her 50.52 from last week. McLaughlin is also not at world indoors.

Ethiopian world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba won the 1500m in 4:05.27, adding to her 3000m title from Thursday. Dibaba won either the 1500m or 3000m at the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Indoors, but this was her first double.

American Drew Windle took silver in the 800m behind Poland’s Adam Kszczot. Windle was disqualified for obstruction shortly after the final and reinstated two hours later.

The original men’s 400m gold and silver medalists, Spain’s Óscar Husillos and Dominican Luguelín Santos, were also later disqualified. More than a dozen runners overall were disqualified for stepping on lane lines or obstruction through three days of the four-day meet.

World outdoor decathlon champion Kevin Mayer of France won the indoor equivalent heptathlon by a mere five points over Canadian Damian Warner.

World Indoors concludes Sunday on NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold.

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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VIDEO: All runners disqualified in world indoors 400m race