Doha Diamond League: Semenya Reigns Supreme, Chelimo Challenges Lagat's AR

Doha Diamond League: Semenya Reigns Supreme, Chelimo Challenges Lagat's AR

LIVE UPDATES: IAAF Diamond League: Doha

May 5, 2017 by Johanna Gretschel
Doha Diamond League: Semenya Reigns Supreme, Chelimo Challenges Lagat's AR
The first 2017 IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Doha, Qatar featured the season debuts from dozens of Rio Olympic medalists and finalists. Read on for an event-by-event recap, and check out the comments section for our live play-by-play updates.


Rio 800m medalists Caster Semenya and Margaret Wambui showed 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba what true 800m running is all about in the Ethiopian's debut half mile race. The 26-year-old was first in line behind pacer Jenny Meadows, who led the field through 400m in about 58, before the true 800m runners took control.

The towering Wambui, bronze medalist in Rio, was first to attack as Jamaica's Natoya Goule snuck to the inside of Dibaba. On the backstretch, two-time Olympic champion Semenya made a calculated move to bypass the field and win by half a second in 1:56.61, a new meet record and world lead for 2017.

Wambui was second in 1:57.03, 2013 world champion Eunice Sum was third in 1:58.76, Ethiopian Habitam Alemu was fourth in a PB of 1:58.92 while her countrywoman, Dibaba, placed fifth in 1:59.37 for her 800m debut. The sole American, Charlene Lipsey, was sixth in 2:00.29, a new outdoor PB by 0.31. Lipsey is the second-fastest American all-time indoors, thanks to her 1:58.64 at the Millrose Games, but has yet to break two minutes outdoors.

The men's 3K featured 5K medalists from the past three Olympic Games in American Paul Chelimo (2016 silver), and Kenyans Thomas Longosiwa (2012 bronze) and Edwin Soi (2008 bronze). But it was only Chelimo who stuck with the hot pace up front as the pack passed through 1600m in 4:02, led by Kenya's Ronald Kwemoi and Caleb Ndiku and Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha. The four men ran wide into lane two on the bell lap as Chelimo moved up on the backstretch behind Kwemoi, a 21-year-old who was 13th in the Rio 1500m final last summer. But the middle-distance specialist, who set the world junior record for 1500m of 3:28.81 in 2014, had another gear down the home straight to win in 7:28.73. Chelimo slowed toward the finish and crossed in 7:31.57 for second, just a few seconds from Bernard Lagat's 7:29.0 American record set in 2010.

The women's steeplechase saw 2016 Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Ruth Jebet finish third behind Kenyan duo Hyvin Kiyeng and Beatrice Chepkoech in a quick, nearly sub-9 minute race. Jebet, whose world record is 8:52.78, led the race through the homestretch with Kiyeng, the 2015 world champion and Olympic silver medalist, on her shoulder. Jebet stutter-stepped the final barrier and Kiyeng took advantage of the show of weakness to pull away to win the first Diamond League title with a new Doha record of 9:00.12.

Chepkoech, fourth in Rio, shaved nine seconds off her PB to take second in 9:01.57, Jebet was third in 9:01.99 and Kenya's 18-year-old Celliphine Chespol was fourth in 9:05.70, a new world junior record.

Rio bronze medalist Emma Coburn of the United States was fifth in 9:14.53, just seven seconds off her American record in her season debut under new coach and fiancé Joe Bosshard, while training partner Aisha Praught Leer of Jamaica was eighth in 9:19.29 -- a new national record and huge improvement over her prior PB of 9:31.75. The other Americans in the field included Stephanie Garcia (10th, 9:30.43), and 2016 Olympians Colleen Quigley (12th, 9:33.13) and Courtney Frerichs (16th, 9:54.91).

Rio 100m medalists Justin Gatlin of the United States and Andre De Grasse of Canada faltered in their individual season's debut as South Africa's Akani Simbine rose to the occasion with his sixth sub-10 clocking of the season to win in 9.99 (-1.2). Simbine ranks No. 2 in the world this year and is thus far undefeated over 100m. Asafa Powell of Jamaica, who withdrew from the World Relays to focus on Doha, took second in 10.08. Olympic silver medalist Gatlin and bronze medalist De Grasse looked poor throughout the race and finished fourth (10.14) and fifth (10.21), respectively. 

The Olympic 200m final rematch between Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands saw gold medalist Thompson pull away down the homestretch in 22.19 (-2.3). Silver medalist Schippers was a well-beaten second, running 22.45 into the considerable headwind, just off her season's best of 22.29 (+1.4).

The Bahamas' 21-year-old national record holder Steven Gardiner continued his standout year by winning the 400m in 44.60 over Americans LaShawn Merritt (44.78) and Tony McQuay (44.92). Gardiner, who was part of the Bahamas' gold medalist 4x400m in Rio last summer, owns the fastest time in the world this year at 44.26.

World record holder Keni Harrison of the United States truly dominated the 100m hurdles in 12.59 (-2.3), though she had a look of discomfort on her face as she crossed the line and officials escorted her off the track. She later revealed via Twitter that she broke her hand during her warm-up.

Cindy Roleder of Germany, fifth in the Rio final, was runner-up in 12.90. The only American from the U.S.A. 1-2-3 sweep in Rio present in Doha was Nia Ali, the Olympic silver medalist, who turned in an eighth-place, 14.34 performance in her season's debut.

American Michelle Carter, the 2016 Olympic champion, won the shot put with a mark of 19.32m in her season debut.

Thomas Röhler of Germany turned in one of most shocking performances of the evening, as he lept to No. 2 in the all-time javelin world rankings with his 93.90m win. The Rio Olympic champion improved his best from 91.98m to wow the crowd with the world's best throw in more than 20 years, as the Czech Republic's Jan Železny set the world record of 98.48m/323-1 in 1996. Železny owns the six best javelin performances in world history, and Röhler's throw today ranks No. 7.