Gatlin wins 100m at Shanghai Diamond League
ABS-CBN Sports on May 15, 2016 02:29 AM
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press
SHANGHAI (AP) — American sprinter Justin Gatlin's preparations for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics got off to a solid start with a commanding win in the 100 meters at the Shanghai Diamond League meet on Saturday.
Olympic 800 champion David Rudisha of Kenya faded on the final straight and finished fifth after a poor start he blamed on field competitors crowding the track.
Gatlin easily won the 100 in 9.94 seconds, several strides ahead of Qatar's Femi Ogunode in second and Michael Rodgers of the United States in third. His main rival in Rio, Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt, did not compete in Shanghai.
"I was just looking to execute each phase of my race," Gatlin said. "Working on my start, working on my transition, just have a good finish."
Rudisha, meanwhile, was leading on the final curve in the 800 before being passed by countryman Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, who won the race in 1 minute, 45.68 seconds. Rudisha finished in 1:46.24, well off his world record of 1:40.91.
Afterward, he blamed the result on confusion over the javelin throwers and high jumpers who were still on the track as the race was starting.
"We tried to raise our hands up, but the gun went off," he said. "I lost almost two seconds of my time. ... It's unfortunate. The technical guys — I don't know what they're doing there."
Rudisha expressed relief, however, over a ruling by the IAAF on Friday that cleared Kenya's track athletes to compete at the Rio Olympics despite a suspension of the country's anti-doping body by the World Anti-Doping Agency over flawed legislation in Kenya.
"The IAAF says that there's no way we could be banned from the Olympics," he said. "But Kenya's under pressure, you know, just to comply with WADA."
Kenyan steeplechaser Hyvin Kiyeng echoed Rudisha's sentiments after winning the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:07.42, more than eight seconds better than runner-up Ruth Jebet of Bahrain, saying she believes the Kenyan government is trying to address the issue.
"The government asked us to focus on the Olympics, but I think they'll do something," she said. "Doping, you cannot say, because it is individuals."
Gatlin's victory in the 100 aside, it was a disappointing night for the Americans in the sprints, with no top-three finishers in either the women's 200 or the men's 110 hurdles.
Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast won the 200 in 22.72, edging seven-time Olympic medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica, who turns 34 on Sunday. Kaylin Whitney was the top American finisher in sixth place.
Jamaica's Omar McLeod won the hurdles in 12.98, besting 2013 world champion David Oliver (fifth) and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jason Richardson (sixth). Aries Merritt of the U.S., trying to make a comeback for the Rio Games after a kidney transplant in September, was disqualified after false-starting.
Sam Kendricks of the U.S. beat a strong field to win the men's pole vault in 5.88 meters, with world record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France in second and last year's world champion, Shawn Barber of Canada, in third.
China got a surprise victory in the men's long jump as Gao Xinglong won with a leap of 8.14 meters over South Africa's Rushwal Samaai and Australia's Fabrice Lapierre.