Fraser-Pryce wins Diamond League opener, Dibaba flops
Doha: Jamaican sprint sensation Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce kicked off the 2014 Diamond League season with a comfortable victory in the women`s 100m in Doha on Friday.
But there was disappointment for Ethiopian star Genzebe Dibaba who struggled home in sixth place in the 3000m, with Kenya`s Hellen Obiri taking victory in a time of 8min 20.68sec, the fifth-fastest in history and a new African record.
Dibaba, who broke the world indoor 1500m and 3000m records this year before taking the world indoor 3000m title in Sopot, was passed by Obiri and Mercy Cherono on the final lap and finished almost six seconds behind.
"I don`t know what went wrong. I didn`t feel good from the beginning of the race," said Dibaba.
After skipping a couple of meets, including the Penn Relays, on medical advice, Fraser-Pryce bounced back to win the 200m at the Kingston Invitational last week and she showed no signs of struggling in the Qatari capital.
After a great start, the "Pocket Rocket", the reigning two-time Olympic sprint champion who also claimed world 100m gold in Moscow last year and world indoor 60m gold in Sopot in March, pulled immediately away from Nigeria`s Blessing Okagbare.
The Jamaican crossed the line in 11.13 seconds, an eye fixed on the big screen as Okagbare made a late surge for the line to finish second in 11.18sec.
"It was a good race, the crowd definitely is a plus, very diverse, energetic and supportive," said Fraser-Pryce.
"Now my goal for the season is to break the 22 seconds barrier in the 200 metres and in Shanghai (May 18) I will run the 200 metres."
Fraser-Pryce`s compatriot and world 200m champion Warren Weir had a night to forget, however, as he was trumped by another Jamaican, Nickel Ashmeade, winner of the sprint in 20.13sec.
Weir struggled out of the blocks and around the bend, Ashmeade holding his own line and a crucial metre-lead on his teammate well for a surprise victory.
Algeria`s surprise Olympic champion in London, Taoufik Makhloufi, after sitting out most of last season and since changing coach, had to be happy with fourth in a fantastic men`s 1500m, won in commanding style by Kenya`s 2008 Olympic champion and defending double world champ Asbel Kiprop in 3:29.18.
The two pace-makers stretched the field out early with an electrifying pace through the first three laps, world indoor champ Ayanleh Suleiman of Djibouti leading as the bell went.
Kiprop moved on to his shoulder with 200m to run, and then accelerated away in the last 40 metres of a 54sec final lap, Makhloufi finishing fourth in a personal best behind Kenyan Silas Kiplagat and Suleiman in a national record.
Such was the depth in the field, Aman Wote set an Ethiopian national record finishing sixth in 3:30.86.
World champion Eunice Sum of Kenya racked up a similarly impressive victory in the women`s 800m in 1:59.33, while the men`s event was claimed by Ethiopian world champion Mohammed Aman in 1:44.49.
One Olympic champion who also had no problems was American LaShawn Merritt, who equalled his own world lead of 44.44sec in winning the 400m at the Qatar Sports Club.
And Russian Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov won a high-quality high jump competition with a Diamond League record of 2.41m, ahead of Canadian Derek Drouin and American Erik Kynard, joint second on 2.37m.
Local hope and world indoor champion Mutaz Barshim finished fourth on countback having also gone over at 2.37.