Olympic champ Thompson runs 2nd fastest 200m of year
ZURICH (AP) — Olympic 200-meter champion Elaine Thompson ran the second fastest time in the world this year to edge great rival Dafne Schippers at the Weltklasse Diamond League meeting on Thursday.
Thompson led only in the final five meters to clock 21.85 seconds — .07 outside the new Jamaican star’s gold medal-winning time in Rio de Janeiro.
Schippers of the Netherlands timed 21.86, the second-fastest of her career, after tying up in the final strides when Thompson surged.
“This is a blast. I came out to execute well,” said Thompson, who ends her season next week in the final Diamond League meeting in Brussels. “I have not been home since Rio and I am longing to get home to Jamaica.”
Schippers was .02 faster than her Olympic silver medal time and has only ever run quicker when winning the 2015 world title.
Allyson Felix of the United States, the 2012 Olympic champ, was third in her season-best time of 22.02.
The women sprinters headlined the storied Zurich meeting with Usain Bolt yet to return to the track after his triple gold in Rio.
In Bolt’s absence, Jamaica veteran Asafa Powell went under 10 seconds yet again to win the men’s 100 in 9.94.
Caster Semenya led a repeat of the Olympic podium in the women’s 800, striding clear of Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya. The time of 1 minute, 56.44 seconds was more than a second outside Semenya’s personal record, which is exactly two seconds behind the 33-year-old world mark.
“I was not ready for the world record this year,” Semenya said. “I am a bit tired. After Rio I had to go home and travel again to Europe.”
A tough women’s 1,500 was won by Shannon Rowbury of the U.S. falling over the line to hold off Laura Muir of Britain, who set a world-leading time in Paris last Saturday. Rowbury’s time of 3:57.78 was her season’s best.
In a standout performance, shot putter Tom Walsh set a New Zealand record of 22.20 meters that is second on this year’s world list behind Olympic champion Ryan Crouser’s 22.52 in Rio. Crouser of the U.S. was runner-up.
Two recent world record-setters were short of their best yet won their events: Ruth Jebet of Bahrain was a full 14 seconds outside the 3,000 steeplechase mark she set in Paris, and American Kendra Harrison’s 12.63 in the 100 hurdles was .43 down on her world mark from July.
Olympic champions winning included Americans Kerron Clement in the men’s 400 hurdles and Christian Taylor in the triple jump. Gold medalists Ruth Beitia of Spain, in women’s high jump, and Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, in women’s discus, also won.
Brittney Reese of the U.S. took the long jump honors at 6.95 to reverse her Olympic result with gold medalist Ivana Spanovic of Serbia.
In the pole vault, Sam Hendricks of the United States cleared 5.90 to edge Renaud Lavillenie of France.