RABAT (Reuters) – American Christian Coleman returned from injury to run his fastest 100 meters of the season and claim victory ahead of an impressive field in a time of 9.98 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat on Friday.
Coleman edged compatriots Ronnie Baker (9.98) and Noah Lyles (9.99) in a photo-finish as he competed for the first time since late May having struggled with a hamstring injury.
The 22-year-old made a fast start out of the blocks and managed to hold off a late charge by Lyles.
“It was a perfect night for me, good race and good time,” Coleman told reporters.
“I could not be happier. I am not so surprised to win my first race (back from injury), even with such a great field because I was very fast in practice these last days.
“When I was injured, I managed to maintain a good condition.”
Russian world champion Maria Lasitskene, unbeaten in her previous 45 high jump competitions dating back to June 2016, saw her incredible winning streak ended by 2016 Olympic silver medalist Mirela Demireva of Bulgaria as she failed at 1.94m.
“I am disappointed of course but these things happen,” Lasitskene said. “I lost myself. I had no problem, no injuries, it was just a bad day. Now I need to go back to training and work hard.”
South African Caster Semenya smashed her own world leading time this year in the 1000m as she coasted home in 2:31.01, a Diamond League record and the sixth fastest time in history, but a little over two seconds shy of Svetlana Masterkova’s long-standing world record.
“It was a very good race, but unfortunately it was not as fast as I expected,” Semenya said.
Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba took advantage of the absence of Olympic champion Semenya in the women’s 800m to claim a comfortable victory in 1:57.90.
World champion Hellen Obiri shaved over five seconds off the leading time this year in the women’s 5000m as the Kenyan won in a time of 14:21.75.
“I am very delighted for this victory, especially that I accomplished the world lead time in 2018,” Obiri said. “The race was fast and difficult, especially in the last lap.”
Dutch runner Sifan Hassan set a new European record of 14:22.34 as she finished second.
Ethiopian indoor world champion Yomif Kejelcha ran the quickest time of the year in the men’s 3000m as he won in 7:32.93, a meeting record and almost three seconds quicker than compatriot Selemon Barega managed in Ostrava last month.
Olympic champion Brianna McNeal claimed the women’s 100m hurdles in a meeting record time of 12.51, holding off fellow American Sharika Nelvis (12.58).
Jamaican Akeem Bloomfield cruised to victory in the men’s 400m, while Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the women’s 200m in a meeting record time of 22.29.
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis