MONTE, CARLO – American sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie set the fastest times this year in the 200 and 100 meters respectively at the Herculis meet on Friday.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion in the 100, came out of the bend with the lead and pulled away in the home stretch to cross the line in 19.68 seconds despite a 0.5-meter headwind. Nickel Ashmeade finished second in 19.99, Christophe Lemaitre took third and Tyson Gay placed fourth in the 10th leg of the Diamond League circuit.
Gatlin also beat Gay in the 100 at the Athletissima meeting two weeks ago in Switzerland, where Gay was returning from a one-year doping ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
“I’m ready to face the best Jamaicans in both sprints,” Gatlin told the IAAF website. “This year I want to win the Diamond Race in the 100 meters and stay unbeaten.”
Gatlin’s previous best time was 19.86 set in 2002. He completed a four-year doping ban in 2010.
In the women’s 100, Bowie showed a tremendous burst of speed in the last 30 meters to win in 10.80. Veronica Campbell-Brown, the 2007 world champion, finished second in 10.96. Worlds runnerup Murielle Ahoure placed third, ahead of Blessing Okagbare, Allyson Felix and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
“Tonight was the best ever start I had in my life,” Bowie said. “After that, the race was just flowing.”
At 23, Bowie is having a breakthrough season. Her fastest time last year was only 11.14.
Nijel Amos of Botswana, Silas Kiplagat of Kenya, Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia, Ajee Wilson of the United States and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia also set world-leading marks.
Kiplagat got the better of world champion Asbel Kiprop in the final straight to take the men’s 1,500 in 3:27.64. He celebrated his victory, a Diamond League record, by taking off his jersey and kneeling down to kiss his bib.
At her last attempt, world champion Ibarguen leaped 15.31 meters, also a Diamond League record, to win the triple jump. Yekaterina Koneva finished second with a 14.89-meter mark.
“I never doubted my chances of winning. I never lost faith,” Ibarguen said. “The world record is there, it’s not far. I will strive and fight for it.”
The world record is 15.50, set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets in 1995.