SA’s Simbine fastest man in London as Thompson aces women’s 200m - GulfToday

SA’s Simbine fastest man in London as Thompson aces women’s 200m


South Africa’s Akani Simbine crosses the line in the men’s 100m final of the IAAF Diamond League Anniversary Games athletics meet in London on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

South African sprinter Akani Simbine recorded a stunning win in the London Diamond League 100m on Saturday, posting a timing of 9.93 seconds to beat local hope Zharnel Hughes and former world champion Yohan Blake.

Hughes had clocked an impressive 9.96 in the heats, despite easing up and running into a slight headwind but after an early stumble he was always trailing in the final, posting 9.95.

Blake, the joint-second fastest man of all time with his 9.69 set in 2012, is getting back toward his best and continued his good season with third in 9.97 as the top five all broke 10 seconds.

Simbini has been knocking at the door for a few years, with fifth places in the Olympics and world championships and gold at the Commonwealth Games and African championships and now looks equipped to challenge the best of the United States at this year’s worlds in Doha in September.

“I’m really happy with the time. I came here to make sure I got the win to build confidence and I came away with a season’s best,” he said.

“It’s about getting through the races and winning them so by the time I get to world champs and I’m facing the rest of the world I’ll be ready and the confidence will be there and I’ll be able to believe in the work I’ve done.”

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was a convincing winner of the women’s 200m in 22.13, holding off fast-finishing Marie-Josee Ta Lou (22.36) and Britain’s Beth Dobbin, who was delighted with a personal best of 22.50 having had to miss the race a year ago to work.

There was more to cheer for home fans as Laura Muir delivered a dominant front-running display and a blistering last lap to win the 1500m in 3:58.25.

“That’s probably close to my 400m PB,” the Scot said of the 57.54 burn up.

Jamaica’s Danielle Williams fired out the fastest time of the year in winning the 100m hurdles in 12.32 – a shade behind the world record set by American Kendra Harrision in the same meeting three years ago. American duo Nia Ali (12.57) and Queen Claye followed her home.

“It has been coming all season and it was just about when,” said Williams.

“This is a fast track and the fact that we get two opportunities because of the heats you can fix what you did wrong ready for the final.”

In the 5,000m, Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrihiwet had a little too much in the tank for Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the European champion, as he surged home in 13:01.86.

There was some consolation for the 18-year-old Norwegian though as his 13:02.03 took a remarkable 15 seconds off his pb to set a European under-20 record and put him in good shape for his 5,000m/1500m double bid in Doha.

“I’m definitely able to go under 13 minutes. I was hoping for a personal best, but a national record is even better,” Ingebrigtsen said.

It was Norway all the way in the 400m hurdles as Karsten Warholm destroyed the field to come home in a European record 47.12 seconds, miles ahead of Turkey’s Yasmani Copello (48.93).

Warholm, another with fond memories of the Olympic Stadium after winning the world title here two years ago, was in total control from the start. Running in his preferred lane seven, saying it is better for his hamstrings than the tighter inside lane, he wiped away his personal best of 47.33.

“It takes hard work, dedication and a lot for me to get out those extraordinary times,” he said.

There was huge disappointment for the crowd when Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who ran the fastest 800m by anyone since the London 2012 Olympics, in Monaco eight days ago (1:41.89), fell 120m into Saturday’s race. In his absence Kenyan Cheruiyot Rotich held off compatriot Wyclife Kinyamal in 1:43.14.

The second day of the event takes place on Sunday, with the women’s 5,000m, featuring new mile world record holder Sifan Hassan, and the women’s 100m, where local favorite Dina Asher-Smith goes against double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, top of the bill.


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Team Emirates’ Pogacar claims podium finish

A monumental final push in the UAE heat from Tadej Pogacar wasn’t enough to take the win in the third stage of the team’s home country as Adam Yates...

The 184km Emirates Stage finished with an exhausting 10.8km climb as Yates launched a surprisingly early attack with 6km to go. Pogacar didn’t react to Yates’ initial acceleration but then ripped clear of the chasing group with 5km remaining, finishing second in the stage, claiming the young rider’s jersey and ending the day second in the GC in a successful day for the team.

Pogacar said “It was extremely hot today, so for me on a climb like that in those temperatures it was a really good ride and I’m pleased.

“There is still three stages with another big mountain stage and the chance of crosswinds tomorrow so it’s not over yet. We have a strong team here so will try something for sure.”

Pogacar will get another chance to claim back the one minute GC deficit as the fifth stage of the Tour finishes at the same Jebel Hafeet summit.

Pogacar will wear the white young rider’s jersey in Wednesday’s stage as the race sees the riders return to the flats which will come as welcome relief for the sprinters.

The Emirates NBD Stage starts from Zabeel Park, crosses Mushrif Park and Motor City before finishing at Dubai City Walk where the popular walkway has been transformed as part of the racing route.

British climber Yates pulverised the opposition on the tough, final ascent of stage, winning by over a minute and taking the overall race lead.

His compatriot Chris Froome was dropped early in the race.

The four-time Tour de France winner again struggled on his comeback from injuries sustained last May.

The 27-year-old Yates is also making his 2020 debut and looks favourite to win in a competitive field after his stunning attack from 6km out at the end of a warm day with temperatures passing 30C.

“I attacked maybe a little too early, but in the end I felt good,” said Yates, whose win gives him a 1min 07sec lead in the overall.

“A minute is a lot, but we have to do this climb again, and maybe my legs won’t be so good then,” Yates said in reference to stage five.

“Also tomorrow I heard a rumour there are going to be crosswinds, so we’ll see.”

Yates was followed up the final 10.6km Jebell Hafeet climb at a 7 per cent gradient by a trio of challengers with Slovenian prodigy Pogacar finishing 1min 03sec adrift.

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko was third at 1min 30sec accompanied by up-and-coming Frenchman David Gaudu.

Yates came fourth at the 2016 Tour de France and is targeting the Grand Boucle this summer where he will lead the Australian team ahead of his brother Simon.

Wednesday’s flat stage, the fourth of seven, is a 173km run to Dubai City Walk where a mass bunch sprint is expected.

Stage 3 Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 4h42’34”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:30

General Classification Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 12h30’02”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:35

22 hours ago