Thompson edges Asher-Smith in Muller Anniversary Games dress rehearsal
It was first blood to Elaine Thompson in Rome as the Olympic champion edged rival Dina Asher-Smith in a scintillating women’s 100m.
In a precursor to their highly-anticipated meeting at the Muller Anniversary Games, the duo outlined their credentials by both dipping under 11 seconds in the Italian capital – Thompson posting a world leading 10.89 and Asher-Smith clocking in at 10.94.
Asher-Smith had beaten the Jamaican in the 200m in Stockholm last week, but it was a different story stepping down to the shorter distance in what was their first 100m confrontation of the Diamond League season.
Comfortably ahead after 60m, the Brit appeared well on course for her third successive Diamond League victory only for Thompson to roar from behind and edge it in a stunning finish.
“Obviously, 10.94 as an opener – I really can’t complain,” Asher-Smith said.
“I’ve never opened sub-11 before, so that’s something that my coach is going to be absolutely over the moon about.
“I put together a good quality race, so he’ll be happy with that but I’m a competitor, so I go out there every single time to win.
“To come second was frustrating and especially as I was doing so well but then felt myself tensing up. That’s just what happens in races and that’s why you need to do more and more: to get race fit.”
Asher-Smith’s exploits were mirrored by another confirmed Muller Anniversary Games athlete in fellow Brit Laura Muir, who produced her second-fastest 1500m ever to take silver behind Genzebe Dibaba.
After a difficult start to the race, 2019 Diamond League champion Muir managed to manoeuvre herself into a position from which she could mount an attack, and she did just that.
With world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba breaking clear in the final lap, Muir refused to let her go, almost chasing the Ethiopian down in the final stretch to finish in 3:56.73.
“This is the start of the season, and I’m definitely getting there,” Muir said.
“I’ve never done 3:56 at this time of the season – it feels great.
"Having Dibaba in the race and trying to stay with her is extra motivation.
“We had the top of the field here and they’re all world-class athletes, so I feel very proud to be among them.”