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The second leg of the 2019 Diamond League season made its stop in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, and it was jam-packed with marquee matchups and tight finishes.
Here were the highlights from Act II of the Diamond League campaign:
Men’s 100m - Lyles Stuns Coleman At The Line
In a battle of the United States’ top sprint stars, 200m stud Noah Lyles shocked Christian Coleman in the 100m at the line with an incredible second-half rally. Both men ran 9.86— a PB for Lyles— but they did it in extraordinarily different ways.
Noah Lyles beats Christian Coleman in a 100m in Shanghai. Both clocked 9.86 seconds, a personal best for Lyles. Could Lyles consider running the 100m at nationals now? pic.twitter.com/LIcvpkPR3f— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) May 18, 2019
Coleman, the 60m world record holder and reigning Diamond League 100m champ, got off to his typical fast start that left Lyles well back through 50 meters. But that’s when Lyles’ strength kicked in and he began to gain on his American rival. Powering home like a runaway train, Lyles nipped Coleman at the line with his lean topping Coleman’s for the victory.
Women’s 400m - Sydney Debuts With Runner-Up Finish To Naser
Rookie pro and 400m hurdles mega-star Sydney McLaughlin made her Diamond League debut in her second-best event, and she did so with positive returns as she placed a close second in 50.78 to 2018 Diamond League champ Salwa Eid Naser’s 50.65.
The reigning 400m #DiamondLeague champion continues 2019 where she left off in 2018 – winning.— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 18, 2019
50.65 for Salwa Eid Naser, with @GoSydGo behind her in 50.78.
📸: @Diamond_League pic.twitter.com/Uzb23Vc7Hp
McLaughlin’s strength was evident as she appeared to gain on Naser of Bahrain with the line approaching, but she simply ran out of track against the 49.08 performer.
Men’s 400m Hurdles - Samba Runs Down Benjamin In First Meeting
The second and third-fastest men ever in the 400m hurdles— Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba and American Rai Benjamin— met for the first time ever in Shanghai, and their premiere encounter certainly lived up to the hype as Samba caught Benjamin in the final 100 meters to win in 47.27.
Samba gets it!— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 18, 2019
On their first, highly anticipated clash over 400m hurdles, @almbrek96 takes the win over @_Kingben_ in 47.27.
Benjamin led till hurdle 8, and finishes in 47.80.
Who's excited to see how the rest of this season will pan out?
📸: @Diamond_League #ShanghaiDL pic.twitter.com/fukBXtqcrf
Benjamin, running his first 400m hurdles race in nearly a year, his last coming at the 2018 NCAA final where he ran his 47.02 PB, held the lead through eight hurdles, but was unable to hold off the hard-charging Samba and settled for a 47.80 runner-up finish. A decent consolation for the 21-year-old is that the time is the second-best of his career.
Men’s 5,000m - Kejelcha Stays Hot
A loaded field assembled for the Shanghai 5k, featuring three men who broke 12:47 in the Diamond League finale last summer— Selemon Barega, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha— and given this early point in the season, it was no surprise that the race ended up outside of 13 minutes.
The first meeting of the Ethiopian heavyweights in 2019 went the way of the hottest distance runner on the planet, indoor mile world record holder Yomif Kejelcha, who used a blistering 53-second last lap to hold off Barega for the win in 13:04.16.
World leading 13:04.16 for Yomif Kejelcha to win a stacked #ShanghaiDL 5000m.— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 18, 2019
He leads an Ethiopian 1-2-3 with @SelemonBarega and Hagos Gebrhiwet on his heels 🇪🇹
📸: @Diamond_League pic.twitter.com/eZ9MV0G4Aa
The 19-year-old Barega, who ran 12:43.02 in his last matchup with Kejelcha to become the fourth-fastest man in history, ran 13:04.71 on Saturday to finish second.
American Paul Chelimo asserted himself up front in the early part of the race, but he struggled to the finish in 13:13.94 for 12th.
Men’s 110m Hurdles - Emotional Omar McLeod Wins In 13.12
Reigning Olympic and World champion Omar McLeod wasn’t even sure he would be able to compete in Shanghai after learning of the death of his aunt on Friday, but the grieving Jamaican ultimately decided to line up and he won for the fourth consecutive year in the Chinese city in 13.12.
An emotional win for @Warrior_omz in the 110m hurdles – his fourth consecutive victory at the #ShanghaiDL – in 13.12.— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 18, 2019
Just 24hrs after learning of the passing of his aunt, the Olympic champion shows true class on the track.
📸: @Diamond_League pic.twitter.com/eWgZVTjVAQ
Afterwards, McLeod was overwhelmed with emotion as he sat on the track and bowed his head.
McLeod was in complete control throughout and was never challenged by runner-up Wenjun Xie of China, who clocked a 13.17 personal best. 2018 Diamond League champion Sergey Shubenkov, an authorized neutral athlete from Russia, looked rusty in his season debut as he placed a distant third in 13.28.
- Morocco’s Rababe Arafi won the first Diamond League race of her career in the women’s 1,500m in 4:01.15 as she powered past the quartet of Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum and the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan in the final 100m.
Hassan, who won the Payton Jordan 10,000m in 31:18 just over two weeks ago, was boxed in over the final lap and had to settle for fifth in 4:01.91.
American Alexa Efraimson earned just the second 2019 IAAF World Standard in the 1,500m by an American woman with her 4:04.53 ninth place finish.
- 2018 Diamond League champion Fred Kerley dominated the men’s 400m in 44.81 in a race where no other man broke 45 seconds. The race was absent 43.45 man Michael Norman, who will compete in the 200m on Sunday in Osaka, Japan.
- First year pro Aleia Hobbs of the U.S. won the women’s 100m in 11.03 over Nigerian Blessing Okagbare (11.07) and 2016 Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica (11.14).
- World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya won a drama-free women’s steeplechase in 9:04.53 over countrywoman Celliphine Chespol in 9:11.10.