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The rains came down hard and fast at times, likewise to Dina Asher-Smith who took the Diamond League opening meet 100m.
She held off American Sha’Carri Richardson, who is on the rise. Marie-Josée Ta Lou and reigning world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished third and fourth, respectively. Asher-Smith’s winning time of 11.35 was hampered by a 3.1 m/s headwind in cool temperatures. Each athlete owns a personal best well under 11 seconds. Asher-Smith has run as fast as 10.83, while Richardson owns a best of 10.72. The fastest in the field, Fraser-Pryce, has a best of 10.70. She is a five-time Olympic medallist and earned gold during the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. She is a 10-time medallist, with nine gold at the World Championships.
Races for the most part seemed to be adversely affected by the inclement weather. The usual suspects typically won though including Scotland’s Laura Muir who finished in 4:03.73. Morocco’s Rababe Arafi clocked a 4:07.73 for second and England’s Katie Snowdon took third in 4:08.92. A four-second win is not even close. Muir, who owns a best of 3:55.22 appeared to finish strong and didn’t seem to strain much.
Erin Wallace paced the field through 400m in 1:05.41 and 800m in 2:09.80. Muir handled the race from 1200m on with a clear lead.
Canadians Aaron Brown and Andre de Grasse may have thought that going 1-2 was possible at this event. No so thought Kenneth Bednarek of the US. Bednarek and de Grasse have the same lifetime personal best at the distance of 19.80, while Brown’s is 19.95. The finish order was Bednarek in 20.33, Brown in 20.79, and de Grasse at 20.85. There is much more to come from these athletes as they peak towards the Tokyo Olympic Games starting on July 23.
Norway’s running star Jakob Ingebrigtsen won in the time of 3:36.27 over Oliver Hoar of Australia who finished in 3:36.58 for a close second. In third was fellow Australian Stewart McSweyn clocking a 3:37.32. Four of the top-nine in the race were Australians.
American Erik Sowinsky took care of pacing duties during the first 800m before giving way to Ingebrigtsen. The American took the field through 400m in 56.37 and 800m 1:54.51.
The 20-year-old Ingebrigtsen owns a fast personal best of 3:28.68, which is the national record. Only McSweyn of the field toed the line with a lifetime best that could pose a challenge to Ingebrigtsen at 3:30.51, the Australian record. The 25-year-old set that time last Sept in Doha, Qatar.
Full results from the Diamond League meet at Gateshead can be found here>>