06 May, 2019

Asher-Smith soars to stunning world lead at IAAF Diamond League opener in Doha

The 2019 Diamond League season got off to a bang in Doha, with several of the world’s leading lights putting down ominous early markers.

 

Chief among them was British sprint queen Dina Asher-Smith, who continued her stunning 2018 form by powering to a world-leading time in the 200m.

 

There were also impressive wins for Caster Semenya and Nijel Amos in the 800m, while Swedish thrower Daniel Stahl also wrote his name into the history books in the discus.

A sign of things to come for Dina?

With four European and Commonwealth golds to her name in 2018, last season could scarcely have gone any better for Asher-Smith.

And with World Championship glory within her sights this time around, the 23-year-old Londoner seized her opportunity to make an early statement of intent on debut at the stadium that will host this this autumn’s showpiece event.

Worryingly for her rivals, roaring to victory in a world leading 22.26s ahead of Jamile Samuel and Blessing Okagbare, Asher-Smith’s dominant display hinted that there is plenty of scope to go even faster. 

“To win in this stadium means a lot to me and it was nice to test out the arena and the track before the IAAF World Championships,” she said. “I didn’t expect to win in that way against such an accomplished field so it’s a good sign, but the season is only just beginning.”

Africans make their mark in 800m

Asher-Smith’s sprint excellence was mirrored in both 800m races, as South African Semenya and Botswana’s Amos roared to victory.

In yet another reminder of her enduring quality, two-time Olympic champion Semenya blitzed a strong field to win in 1:54.98 - beating her own meet record in the process - while Amos edged out fellow African Emmanuel Korir in a tight men’s race.

A silver medallist at the London Stadium in 2012, Amos has a history of making his mark on British shores – and is certainly one to watch ahead of July’s Muller Anniversary Games meet.

Six of the best from Daniel Stahl

On a high-octane evening in Doha, records also tumbled in the field, with one man at the centre of most of the adulation.

On song from his very first throw – a meeting record of 69.63m – Stahl became the first man in history to produce six throws beyond 69.50m in a single competition.

This was sustained and repeated discus brilliance from the Swede, who, with the wind in his sails, now has the momentum to go one better than his World Championship silver in 2017.

Inspiration was clearly in the air at the Khalifa International Stadium, as teenager Yaroslava Mahuchikh became the youngest woman to win a Diamond League event.

Soaring to a lifetime best of 1.96m in the high jump, at just 17 years and 226 days, Mahuchikh has already marked herself out as a star not just of the future, but of the here and now too.