Thompson overcomes slow start to win 100 at Shanghai meet
SHANGHAI (AP) — Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica overcame a slow start to win the women’s 100 meters at the Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday, her second victory in as many weeks.
Thompson, who captured the women’s 200 at the season-opening Doha Diamond League, pulled away at the 80-meter mark and eased to victory in 10.78 seconds, the fastest time in the world this season.
Her countryman and fellow Olympic champion, Omar McLeod, won the men’s 110-meter hurdles, while China’s Su Bingtian was first in the men’s 100 against a weakened field missing American star Justin Gatlin, who was a late withdrawal.
Thompson is eyeing a possible 100-200 double at the world championships in London in August in a bid to add two more golds to the ones she won at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“It’s my second 100 for the season, so a world-lead (time) is not a bad time,” Thompson said. “Even though when I watched the video, I wasn’t that explosive from the blocks, nevertheless, I still pulled through.”
Thompson said her coach will decide if she’ll try for another 100-200 double at the worlds. She won silver in the 200 at the 2015 worlds, but didn’t compete in the 100.
“It’s all in my coach’s hand, if he decides for me to go double again,” Thompson said. “It’s early in the season.”
Tori Bowie of the United States was second, 0.26 seconds back. Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast was third.
McLeod beat a tough field in the 110 hurdles, out-leaning Spain’s Orlando Ortega at the tape to win in 13.09. China’s Xie Wenjun finished third, while defending world champion Sergey Shubenkov was fifth and world record holder Aries Merritt sixth.
“It’s one of the best 110 matchups in a long time, honestly,” McLeod said. “There was literally no time for complacency.”
Su won the men’s 100 in 10.09, just ahead of Michael Rodgers of the United States in second and Ben Youssef Meite of Ivory Coast in third.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion, finished a disappointing fourth in Doha last week and decided his form wasn’t good enough to compete in Shanghai.
The field was also missing Usain Bolt, who is expected to kick off the final season of his glittering career next month, as well as Rio bronze medalist Andre De Grasse and Doha champion Akani Simbine.
Two-time Olympic champion David Rudisha of Kenya faded to fourth in the 800, more than half a second behind winner Kipyegon Bett’s time of 1:44.70 and four seconds off his own world record.
Rudisha looked comfortable through the first lap, leading the field behind the pacesetter, but couldn’t find his kick in the final stretch. He said he changed his schedule this year, skipping the early-season meets in Australia, and came into Shanghai off his top race shape.
The Kenyan believes he’ll be able to find his form in plenty of time before he attempts to defend his world title.
“It’s good sometimes just to try something different, but it’s tough. I have to get a few competitions before my legs get going,” Rudisha said. “I know I’ve been doing some quite good training and hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll be building up nicely.”
In a first for the Diamond League, the men’s and women’s discus throwers competed at the same time, switching places in the throwing circle after each round.
“I think it’s good because we are pushing each other,” said women’s champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia. She was surprised, however, that the men looked more relaxed throughout the competition, even tossing a tennis ball back and forth during breaks.
“I think the women are more professional than the men,” she said with a laugh.