The traditional curtain raiser to the outdoor season, the Doha Meeting continues to grow its reputation on the global athletics circuit and lived up to high expectations with seven world leading performances, three meeting records, four national records and a vocal sell-out crowd.
The women’s 100m started with an emotional moment of reflection following the death of former world champion Tori Bowie earlier this week. It ended with three women going sub-11 seconds, a fitting tribute to the sprints star who was in everyone’s thoughts.
Sha’Carri Richardson (USA) - who had shown early-season promise with a wind-aided 10.57 in April - was the emphatic winner in a meeting record and world leading 10.76 (+0.9), only just outside her lifetime best of 10.72.
“I'm so blessed and thankful, I feel at peace,” said the former NCAA champion who accelerated over the final 30m to take the win. “All I do is the best I can do and I'm excited to do it.”
Reigning world 200m champion Shericka Jackson (JAM) was second in 10.85, with former world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith (GBR) in third (10.98).
Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase silver medallist, clocked 7:26.18 for a meeting record and world leading time in the men’s 3000m.
The world indoor 3000m record holder had sat towards the back of the field early on alongside Soufiane El Bakkali (MAR), the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion. At that point, only Berihu Aregawi (ETH) had gone with the pace.
As El Bakkali started to move slowly through the field, Aregawi, alongside Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega (ETH), had created a slight gap at the front. Aregawi continued to push the pace, but with three laps to go, Girma was on his shoulder. Girma eventually took the lead at the bell and pulled away for the win. Barega finished second in a lifetime best of 7:27.16, with Aregawi in third (7.27.61).
Andreas Almgren (SWE) and Mohamed Amin Jhinaoui (TUN) ran national records of 7:37.05 and 7:37.56 for seventh and eighth respectively.
There were also world leading performances in the women’s pole vault, men’s triple jump, women’s 3000m steeplechase, men’s javelin and women’s 1500m, while the men’s discus produced a meeting record.
Olympic and world pole vault champion Katie Moon (USA) continued her rich run of form with victory in Doha, clearing a best height of 4.81m. Behind her, Slovenian national record holder Tina Šutej – the world indoor and European outdoor bronze medallist – equalled her lifetime best and national record with 4.76m, while world silver medallist Sandi Morris (USA), the US (outdoor) record holder, cleared 4.71m for third.
“I feel great, I'm so happy with how it went,” said Moon. “It's a classic first Diamond League meeting and I'm figuring it out and working my way through poles...but I'm really happy that I came in first place. The crowd here is always unbelievable.”
A changeable breeze led to a complex mix of wind-aided and legal performances in the men’s triple jump.
Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo, the Olympic and world triple jump champion, took the win with a best effort of 17.91m (+2.1), but the world lead went to Hugues Fabrice Zango (BUR) who saved his best until last with 17.81m (+1.5) in the final round, the furthest legal jump of the night and his second-best ever.
“I'm pretty happy and I'm excited for the upcoming World Championships,” he said. “The triple jump is very exciting right now and I'm glad to be performing well, the top three jumpers today were really crazy, so now I need to be on top of my game.”
Andy Díaz Hernández (CUB) was third with 17.80m (+2.6).
In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Winfred Mutile Yavi (BRN) took the win with a world leading 9:04.38. She moved away at the bell alongside Sembo Almayew (ETH), the pair matching each other stride for stride. Yavi confidently held the kerb and drove out of the last water jump to move clear.
Almayew was second in a personal best time of 9:05.83, with Faith Cherotich (KEN) in third (9:06.43). Maruša Mišmaš Zrimšek (SLO) ran a national record of 9:13.61 for fifth.
While the men’s javelin didn’t quite live up to the incredible competition of 12 months ago, the crowd were delighted to see the return of Olympic javelin champion and world silver medallist Neeraj Chopra (IND) whose opening throw of 88.67m was good enough to take victory in a new world lead.
Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlecjh (CZE) was second with 88.63m, with last year’s winner Anderson Peters (GRN), the reigning world champion, in third (85.88m).
“It was a very hard win, but I’m happy, it's a really good start for me,” said Indian national record holder Chopra. “Today was challenging for all athletes, but I'm still satisfied with my result. It was a good start and it's a great atmosphere. Lot of people came to support me and they are really happy...sometimes it's really hard because we have a big country and people hope for me...I’m lucky people have faith in me. This Doha meeting is great, the first one every year.”
The women’s 1500m was the final event of the evening and predictably resulted in a world lead for two-time Olympic and world 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon (KEN), who controlled the race off a relatively slow pace in the early stages.
“I am very pleased with my start of the season, it was an exciting race, but a little bit windy, so I decided to not push too much and just focus on winning the race,” said Kipyegon. “I have been training well and I really like racing in Doha, the crowd and fans are really amazing...I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. My big goal is to win the World Championships and to break the world record this summer.”
At the bell, Australia’s Jessica Hull and Deribi Welteji (ETH) moved up to Kipyegon’s shoulder, and although Welteji briefly threatened, Kipyegon held on confidently to take the win in 3:58.57 - clocking a 58.77 last lap en route - ahead of Welteji (3:59.34) and third-place Freweyni Hailu (4:00.29).
In the men’s discus – which produced a new meeting record - world discus champion Kristjan Čeh (SLO) delivered an impressive 70.89m in round one for the victory. Olympic discus champion Daniel Ståhl (SWE) was second with 67.14m, and Sam Mattis (USA) third (64.69m).
Elsewhere, Marileidy Paulino (DOM) won the women’s 400m (50.51); JuVaughan Harrison (USA) was the unexpected winner of the men’s high jump with 2.32m; Rai Benjamin (USA) won the men’s 400mH in 47.78 from a fast-finishing CJ Allen (USA) in a 47.93 PB; Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR) won the women’s 100mH in 12.48 (+1.1); the men’s 800m was won in a tactically perfect performance by Algeria’s Slimane Moula (1:46.06); and Fred Kerley (USA) powered through in the last 50m to win the men’s 200m in 19.92 (+0.3) from countryman Kenny Bednarek (20.11).
Full results are available here.