ATHLETICS: Coleman’s 9.81 win over Gatlin highlights six world leaders at Pre Classic

Christian Coleman needed a world-leading 9.81 to beat Justin Gatlin at the Pre Classic at Stanford (Photo: IAAF)

On a brilliant, sunny day at Stanford with a sell-out crowd of 8,128 on hand for the transplanted Prefontaine Classic, the top performance came near the end of the meet when the current World Champion in the 100 m tangled with the likely next World Champion in the event.

Justin Gatlin, the man who finally beat Usain Bolt to the line in the 2017 Worlds in London, had been undefeated against fellow American Christian Coleman, but that ended with an emphatic win by Coleman in a world-leading 9.81.

Coleman, as usual, zipped out of the blocks first and had the lead by 30 m and was extending it through the middle of the race. But Gatlin emerged from the pack to challenge, but Coleman held steady and managed to win by 6/100ths.

Gatlin showed that at 37, he’s isn’t going anywhere soon, and he moves to no. 4 on the world list in his third meet of the year. He is still very much a contender.

The meet had no less than six world leaders:

Men/100 m: 9.81, Christian Coleman (USA)
Men/Mile: 3:50.49, Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN)
Men/400 m hurdles: 47.16, Rai Benjamin (USA)

Women/800 m: 1:55.70, Caster Semenya (RSA)
Women/3,000 m: 8:18.49, Sifan Hassan (NED)
Women/3,000 m Steeple: 8:55.57, Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN)

Hassan’s stirring win in the women 3,000 m can be considered a world record. She came from almost 10 m behind at the bell to overtake Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, who had dominated the race almost from the start and appeared to have the event well in hand with a lap to go.

But while she led fellow Ethiopian Ginzebe Dibaba, it was Hassan who suddenly made up ground in the final 300 m and extended to a big lead on the home straightaway to finish in 8:18.49, making her the no. 4 performance with the no. 6 performance in history.

However, the three performers and five times ahead of her were all made during by the highly-dubious Chinese squad at the 1993 Chinese nationals, including Junxia Wang’s “world record” of 8:06.11. Wipe these very likely chemically-enhanced marks off the books and Hassan ran a world record, with Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen finishing second with a late rush in 8:20.07, which should be the no. 2 performance in history, ahead of Gidey’s 8:20.27. Dibaba faded to fourth at 8:21.29.

The women’s Steeple was just as intriguing, with the pacesetters asked to aim for a world-record rate. In fact, the only one who could keep up was world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN), who won easily in 8:55.58, the no. 5 performance of all time. Behind her was a stirring battle for second, won by American Emma Coburn, whose 9:04.90 was the no. 4 performance in American history.

The women’s 800 m featured South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who was able to run because the Swiss Federal Tribunal suspended the IAAF’s rules for women’s eligibility in the 400 m-mile distances while considering her appeal. She ran away with the race as usual – her 31st straight win in the event – in a world-leading 1:55.70.

While Semenya’s win was no surprise, seeing 2016 Olympic 1,500 m champ Faith Kipyegon come back from almost two years off … and win in 3:59.04 was. She was terrific down the final straightaway, outpacing British star Laura Muir (3:59.47) and a speeding Shelby Houlihan of the U.S. (3:59.64).

The sprint events had been hyped with the presence of Michael Norman and Rai Benjamin in the 400 m and hurdles and they both won impressively. Norman, suffering from a recent cold, ran away from everyone down the home straight for a 44.62 win, while Benjamin made a strong move on the turn and broke away from everyone on the home straight for a brilliant 47.16 time, the ninth-fastest time in history!

The women’s sprints were surprises, with Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) emerging in the final 20 m to win the 100 m in 11.02, as Jamaica’s Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.73 this year) finished fifth, and Blessing Okagbare (NGR) zooming down the straight to win the 200 m in 22.05 to move to no. 2 on the year list. She beat Elaine Thompson (JAM), who ran 22.00 last week and 2018 European champ Dina Asher-Smith, who ran 22.21 and 22.42.

The big surprise on the infield was Darlan Romani’s national record of 22.61 m (74-2 1/4) to win the shot from Ryan Crouser (22.17 m/72-9); that moved Romani to no. 10 all-time and was Crouser’s first loss of the year.

In the women’s high jump, Russia’s Mariya Lasitskene won at 2.04 m (6-8 1/4), but American Vashti Cunningham became the ninth American women to clear 2.00 m (6-6 1/4) to finish second. Summaries:

IAAF Diamond League/Pre Classic
Stanford, California (USA) ~ 30 June 2019
(Full results here)

Men

100 m (wind: -0.1 m/s): 1. Christian Coleman (USA), 9.81; 2. Justin Gatlin (USA), 9.87; 3. Zharnel Hughes (GBR), 9.97. Also: 4. Cravon Gillespie (USA), 10.05; 5. Michael Rodgers (USA), 10.08; … 8. Cameron Burrell (USA), 10.21.

400 m: 1. Michael Norman (USA), 44.62; 2. Kahmari Montgomery (USA), 45.12; 3. Fred Kerley (USA), 45.33. Also: 5. Wil London (USA), 45.57; … 7. Michael Cherry (USA), 45.92.

Mile: 1. Tim Cheruiyot (KEN), 3:50.49; 2. Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI), 3:51.22; 3. Filip Ingebrigtsen (NOR). Also: 5. Craig Engels (USA), 3:51.60; 6. Matthew Centrowitz (USA), 3:52.26; 7. Ben Blankenship (USA), 3:52.51; … 10. Clayton Murphy (USA), 3:54.37; 11. Johnny Gregorek (USA), 3:54.50.

Two Mile: 1. Joshua Cheptegei (UGA), 8:07.54; 2. Paul Chelimo (USA), 8:07.59; 3. Selemon Barega (ETH), 8:08.69. Also: 11. Eric Jenkins (USA), 8:22.37; 12. Kirubel Erassa (USA), 8:25.14.

110 m hurdles (+0.3): 1. Orlando Ortega (ESP), 13.24; 2. Wilhem Belocian (FRA), 13.29; 3. Omar McLeod (JAM), 13.29. Also: 5. Devon Allen (USA), 13.33; … 7. Freddie Crittenden (USA), 13.38; 8. Aleec Harris (USA), 13.39.

400 m hurdles: 1. Rai Benjamin (USA), 47.16; 2. Kyron McMaster (IVB), 48.94; 3. Yasmani Copello (TUR), 49.37. Also: 4. David Kendzeira (USA), 49.46; 5. T.J. Holmes (USA), 49.79; 6. Khallifah Rosser (USA), 49.87; 7. Amere Lattin (USA), 50.01.

Pole Vault: 1. Mondo Duplantis (SWE), 5.93 m (19-5 1/2); 2. Sam Kendricks (USA), 5.88 m (19-3 1/2); 3. Piotr Lisek (POL), 5.71 m (18-8 3/4). Also: 4. Chris Nilsen (USA), 5.71 m (18-8 3/4); 5. Cole Walsh (USA), 5.61 m (18-4 3/4).

Shot Put: 1. Darlan Romani (BRA), 22.61 m (74-2 1/4); 2. Ryan Crouser (USA), 22.17 m (72-9); 3. Tom Walsh (NZL), 21.69 m (71-2). Also: 5. Darrell Hill (USA), 21.35 m (70-0 1/2); 6. Joe Kovacs (USA), 21.12 m (69-3 1/2); … 8. Payton Otterdahl (USA), 20.58 m (67-6 1/4).

Women

100 m (non-Diamond League; +0.3): 1. Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV), 11.02; 2. Aleia Hobbs (USA), 11.04; 3. Teahna Daniels (USA), 11.13. Also: 4. Sha’Carri Richardson (USA), 11.15; … 6. English Gardner (USA), 11.24; 7. Tori Bowie (USA), 11.30.

200 m (+1.9): 1. Blessing Okagbare (NGR), 22.05; Elaine Thompson (JAM), 22.21; 3. Dina Asher-Smith (GBR), 22.42. Also: 5. Jenna Prandini (USA), 22.53; … 7. Brittany Brown (USA), 22.99; 8. Kyra Jefferson (USA), 23.07.

800 m: 1. Caster Semenya ( RSA), 1:55.70; 2. Ajee Wilson (USA), 1:58.36; 3. Raevyn Rogers (USA), 1:58.65. Also: 4. Hanna Green (USA), 1:58.75.

1,500 m: 1. Faith Kipyegon (KEN), 3:59.04; 2. Laura Muir (GBR), 3:59.47; 3. Shelby Houlihan (USA), 3:59.64.

3,000 m: 1. Sifan Hassan (NED), 8:18.49; 2. Konstance Klosterhalfen (GER), 8:20.07; 3. Letesenbet Gidey (ETH), 8:20.27. Also: 14. Karissa Schweizer (USA), 8:42.15.

3,000 m Steeple: 1. Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN). 8:55.58; 2. Emma Coburn (USA), 9:04.90; 3. Hyvin Kiyeng (KEN), 9:05.81. Also:  5. Courtney Frerichs (USA), 9:09.75; … 7. Colleen Quigley (USA), 9:11.41; … 13. Allie Ostrander (USA), 9:31.44; 14. Mel Lawrence (USA), 9:33.48.

High Jump: 1. Mariya Lasitskene (RUS), 2.04 m (6-8 1/4); 2. Vashti Cunningham (USA), 2.00 m (6-6 1/4); 3. Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR), 2.00 m (6-6 3/4).

Shot Put: 1. Lijiao Gong (CHN), 19.79 m (64-11 1/4); 2. Danniel Thomas-Dodd (JAM), 19.26 m (63-2 1/4); 3. Chase Ealey (USA), 19.23 m (63-1 1/4). Also: 6. Michelle Carter (USA), 18.21 m (59-9); 7. Maggie Ewen (USA), 18.04 m (59-2 1/4).

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