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Americans set standard for season in Diamond League opener

DOHA -- On a clear night with temperatures above 95 degrees in Qatar’s capital city, the scorching temps brought fire to the track as USATF athletes set five world leads and four meet records in the opening competition of the 2015 Diamond League.
Hurdle Hype meets expectations
In the highly anticipated women’s 100m hurdles, world-leader Jasmin Stowers (Pendleton, South Carolina) lined up against a stacked field, which featured two Olympic champions including Dawn-Harper Nelson (Los Angeles, California), last year’s Diamond winner, and Sally Pearson. Stowers’ steady stride broke away after the third obstacle, and she earned the win in 12.35, a PR and the third-fastest time ever by an American. That time also made her the No. 7 woman ever. Sharika Nelvis (Jonesboro, Arkansas), in second place, also set a personal best with her 12.54.
An undefeated Bershawn “Batman” Jackson (Raleigh, North Carolina) continued the success of his 2015 outdoor season, adding a first-place finish to compliment wins at the World Challenge Meet in Kingston and the opening of his outdoor season at Drake Relays. Jackson had a quick start over the first two hurdles with Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) matching his pace and surging ahead down the backstretch before fading on the final turn. Jackson caught up heading into the straightaway, and despite clipping the last hurdle, he surged ahead, winning in a world-leading time and meet record 48.09.
Triple Jump makes history
The men’s triple jump competition was the night’s most dramatic as two athletes crossed the 18-meter barrier in an unprecedented event.  American Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Georgia) finished the competition with his final jump of 18.04/59-2.25, the second best jump in American history, finishing second behind Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo (18.06/59-3). Taylor’s mark is a PR, bettering the 17.96m/58-11.25 he set in Daegu in 2011.  France’s Teddy Tamgho (17.24/56-6.75) finished third but was taken off the track after injuring his achilles tendon in the fourth round.
Women’s long jump saw defending Diamond League champion Tianna Bartoletta (Tampa, Florida) kick off the Diamond season winning with a last-round leap of 6.99/22-11.25. Bartoletta opened the competition with a world-leading 6.96/22-10, and held off the challenge of Britain’s Shara Proctor, who finished four centimeters back.
Seasoned sprinters set the tone
Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Florida) set a world lead and a new PR of of 9.74, the third-fastest time in U.S. history and equal No. 9 on the world all-time list, for the world lead and a meet record in the 100m. Mike Rodgers (Round Rock, Texas) took second with a season-best 9.96.
Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, California) cruised to a comfortable 200m win, pulling away in the last 20 meters for a 21.98 finish against a loaded field including Americans Charonda Williams (Clermont, Florida), Tiffany Townsend (Killeen, Texas), Shalonda Solomon (Inglewood, California) and 17-year-old Kaylin Whitney (Clermont, Florida), making her Diamond League debut.
Francena McCorory (Hampton, Virginia) won the women’s 400m in 50.21, taking the lead after the final curve and holding steadily through the straightaway. Sanya Richards-Ross (Austin, Texas), who went out quickly and was leading at the 200 mark, was second in 50.79.
Three in throws
Reese Hoffa (Athens, Georgia) had a 2015 best in the men’s shot put, throwing 21.30/69-10.75 in the third round to take second behind Germany’s David Storl (21.51/70-7). Ryan Whiting (Port Matilda, Pennsylvania) tossed 21.06/69-1.25 and Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pennsylvania) threw 20.86/68-5.25 for third and fourth respectively.
Click here for results from Doha. Diamond League action continues Sunday in Shanghai.

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