Olympic champion Thompson stars as Bolt skips Diamond meet
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic 100-meter champion Elaine Thompson took center stage in the absence of her Jamaican teammate Usain Bolt in the first Diamond League meet after the Rio de Janeiro Games on Thursday.
Thompson timed 10.78 seconds with a slight tailwind at Athletissima — just .07 outside her time in the 100 final in Rio and .08 behind her world-leading time this season.
It was Thompson’s second time down the track after most runners initially ignored a false start gun.
“To be able to produce (10.78) on a second attempt, it’s a great time,” said Thompson, a double gold medalist in 100 and 200 who almost matched Bolt’s title triple, but took home silver in the 4x100 relay.
With Bolt celebrating his 30th birthday in London, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands won the 200 in 19.81, just .03 slower than Bolt ran in the Olympic final and a national record
In the 100, Bolt’s gold-medal winning relay teammate Asafa Powell clocked 9.96 to win on a track where he ran his personal record of 9.72 soon after the Beijing Olympics.
One contender to help the sport’s void when Bolt retires is Jamaican 110 hurdler Omar McLeod. However, the Olympic champion was edged by .01 on Thursday by the rival he beat for gold, Orlando Ortega. The Spaniard’s winning run was 13.11.
American hurdlers dominated the women’s races, and Kendra Harrison again showed what she could have achieved in Rio had she earned selection at national trials.
Harrison, who set a world record of 12.20 in London last month, won here in 12.42 — faster by .06 than the Olympic gold-winning time of teammate Brianna Rollins, who did not run Thursday.
Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad timed 53.78 in a clear 400 hurdles win.
Two American bronze medalists in Rio won their events: LaShawn Merritt clocked 44.50 in the 400, and Sam Hendricks set a pole vault meet record by clearing the bar at 5.92. Hendricks used the ideal conditions on a warm, still evening in Lausanne to go seven centimeters above his Olympic height.
Two Olympic silver medalists dueled in the women’s 3,000: Genzebe Dibaba, the 1,500 runner-up from Ethiopia, won in 8:31.84 after kicking hard at the bell to leave Olympic 5,000 runner-up Hellen Obiri of Kenya trailing in second.
Rio silver medalists who also won in Lausanne were Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, clearing 2.35 at the third attempt in the high jump, and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi in the women’s 800. Niyonsaba timed 1:57.71 as Olympic champion Caster Semenya of South Africa skipped the meet. Semenya plans to run at Zurich next Thursday.
In the shot put, 2012 Olympic champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand reversed Rio placings with gold medalist Michelle Carter of the U.S., extending her lead with a final effort at 19.94 meters.
Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen won with a leap of 14.76, though long jump gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta of the U.S. placed only fifth.
Amid Russia’s doping scandal, its only eligible entry in Olympic track and field was its only competitor in Lausanne: with Darya Klishina finishing third in the long jump won by Olympic bronze medalist Ivana Spanovic of Serbia at 6.83.
“Mentally this has been a very tough season,” Klishina said. “I hope the situation with Russia is sorted soon and we athletes just have to focus on performing.”
The Diamond League series continues in Paris on Saturday.