DOHA (Sporting Alert) — Justin Gatlin sounded a powerful statement to the Jamaicans at the IAAF Diamond League in Doha on Friday with a world-leading 9.74 seconds to win the men’s 100m and get his season underway.
The time was also a personal best and meeting record for the American, who dominated the sprint events during last season.
Gatlin’s time also bettered the previous world-best of 9.84 seconds, set by Jamaican Asafa Powell at the Jamaica International Invitational last Saturday.
Finishing directly behind the 2004 Olympic champion was his teammate Mike Rodgers, who was a distant second in 9.96 secs.
Rodgers didn’t seem too disappointed with his overall race, adding that his goal is to finish in the top three in every one of his races this season.
“My start was a little bit sluggish, but I can be satisfied with the result at the end,” the American said. “I want to be at the podium in every single race.”
Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 10.01, with Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis clocking a season’s best 10.03 for fourth.
Great Britain’s James Dasaolu was last in 10.14.
Fellow American Allyson Felix set a world-leading and meeting record of 21.98 to win the women’s 200m.
“I am really happy today,” Felix noted. “A world lead and meeting record and equalled the Diamond League record its a good start I feel strong and my speed is good.”
Another in-form American sprinter Jasmin Stowers showed that she is the real deal this season, after producing yet another eye-popping performance to leave her rivals trailing.
The world-leader extended her good form by running away with the women’s 100m hurdles in a new personal best, Diamond League record and world-leading time of 12.35 seconds.
She now has the three fastest time on the season, after running 12.40 and 12.39 at previous meetings leading up to the Doha outing.
“It’s been a sensational start to the season,” Stowers told reporters. “It means a lot competing with such great women and athletes it just feels great.
“I am thankful to run with them and now it’s Rome, New York and the US Trials in late June.
“I definitely want to be at the World Championships in Beijing. It’s my first time here in Qatar and it just feels great with the crowd cheering and the weather.”
American Sharika Nelvis was second in 12.54 with Briton hurdler Tiffany Porter taking third in 12.65.
Olympic champion Sally Pearson faded to fourth in 12.69.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo and American Christian Taylor both went over 18-meters with two special performances.
Pichardo took the event with a mark of 18.06m, with Taylor becoming only the fifth men to get past the 18m barriers with a mark of 18.04.
“It is a special day for me I feel great with new personal best,” Taylor said. “I think the World Championships in Beijing, will be great.”