High winds, photo finishes and warm temperatures of 30-plus C in Doha, Qatar made for an entertaining start to the 2022 Diamond League season. Winds hit highs of 50 km/h during many of the sprint races, making most times that were run this evening wind-aided performances.
The men's pole vault has been cancelled due to windy conditions at #DohaDL
The #DiamondLeague action will get underway with the women's triple jump in 10 minutes time.
— Wanda Diamond League (@Diamond_League) May 13, 2022
Noah Lyles triumphs over Andre De Grasse
Tough race for the 🇨🇦 trio at the Doha Diamond League 200m today.
Back to work. pic.twitter.com/HxxnXdp3zl
— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) May 13, 2022
The Olympic bronze medallist, Noah Lyles, made his presence known over an elite 200m field, taking the win in a wind-aided 19.72 seconds (+2.1 m/s). Lyles had a great start out of the blocks and fought for the lead with Olympic gold medallist Andre De Grasse and Fred Kerley in the first 100m. Once Lyles hit the final straightaway, he did not look back, surging ahead of his compatriot, Kerley, to take the win. Kerley was second in 19.75 seconds and Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 20.15.
Andre De Grasse fourth in the Doha Diamond League 200 in 20.15 seconds. Said the commentator: "He's got work to do."
— Lori Ewing (@Ewingsports) May 13, 2022
Canada’s De Grasse and Aaron Brown had a great start but faded over the final 100m, with De Grasse fourth in 20.15 and Brown fifth in 20.18. Vancouver’s Jerome Blake was sixth in 20.25.
Canada’s Marco Arop finishes third in a tactical 800m race
The men’s 800m kicked off the action on the track in an unusual fashion, with the pace for the first 400m four seconds off the planned 50 to 51 seconds. The windy back straight made for some slower tactics, in what ended up being a sit-and-kick race. The young Noah Kibet of Kenya, who’s only 18, ended up having the best kick, passing Marco Arop on the final straightaway and winning in a slower time of 1:49.08. Arop was the third to cross the finish line in 1:49.51, beating the likes of Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Rotich and North American record holder Donavan Brazier. Arop will be back on the track next weekend when the Diamond League makes its second stop of the season in Birmingham U.K. on May 21.
Francine Niyonsaba ousts Faith Kipyegon in women’s 3,000m
In one of the most entertaining races of the night, fans got to see two of the world’s best middle-distance runners duel it out over 3,000m. Due to the lack of a pacer, Francine Niyonsaba took the pace into her own hands, taking the group out slow and delivering a 59-second last 400m to win the race in a world-leading time of 8:37.70. Faith Kipyegon was the favourite going into the race, winning nine of her last 10 races. She found herself boxed in with 800m to go, and struggled to get a lane to make a move on Niyonsaba until it was too late. The 1,500m Olympic champion tried to overtake Niyonsaba with 200m to go, but the 800m Olympic silver medallist from Rio 2016 managed to hold her off to take the victory. Australia’s Jessica Hull was third in 8:40.97, only four seconds off her personal best.
An Olympic steeplechase rematch comes down to a photo-finish
One-hundredth of a second separated the reigning Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, and Tokyo silver medallist Lamencha Girma of Ethiopia over seven and a half laps of the track. The two steeplechasers battled back and forth on the final lap, but El Bakkali got the last laugh, dipping at the line ahead of Girma in a world-leading time of 8:09.66. Girma was 8:09.67 and Abraham Kibiwot of Kenya was third in 8:16.40.