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Wilson makes most of Semenya absence to win Diamond League 800m
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 31 - 05 - 2019

American Ajee Wilson made the most of the absence of Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba to win the women's 800 meters in Thursday's Diamond League meeting on a windy, wet evening in the Swedish capital.
Wilson, who came third at the Diamond League meeting in Doha earlier this month behind Semenya and Niyonsaba, cruised to victory in a relatively slow time of 2:00.87, with Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia in second and Nelly Jepkosgei of Kenya in third.
Double Olympic champion Semenya and Niyonsaba share a string of Diamond League victories in the distance going back over three years, but both are no longer allowed to compete without taking medication to reduce their testosterone levels.
The IAAF, Athletics' governing body, has imposed the conditions on female athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs). Semenya has filed an appeal against the rules to Switzerland's highest court.
Earlier in the evening Michael Norman, whose time of 43.45 in Torrence, California last month is the fastest 400 meters in the world this year, held off a strong early challenge from compatriot Rai Benjamin to win in a time of 44.53 in tough conditions.
The women's 200m provided the other highlight of the evening as European Champion Dina Asher-Smith emerged early from a strong field to take the win in a time 22:18, ahead of double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and decorated Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers.
"I just wanted to come and secure the win, but to secure a fast time too, I'm not going to complain," an elated Asher-Smith said following her blistering performance.
In blustery and cool conditions in the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, 23-year-old Asher-Smith gained her second Diamond League win of the season in comfortable style, showing she is in the mood at the start of a long season that ends with the world championships in Doha in September and October.
"I'm in good shape right now, but I want to get faster, keep working. The world championships are going to be a completely different picture," Asher-Smith said.
The much-anticipated debut of Kenya's Hellen Obiri in the women's 5000 meters ended in disappointment as she fell around the four-kilometer mark of the race while battling for third spot.
A gold medalist at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March, Obiri scored an impressive victory over 3000 meters in Doha but finished second-last after her slip, with Agnes Tirop winning in a time of 14:50.82.
The men's 1500 rounded off the night with Timothy Cheruiyot blasting to victory in time of 3:35.79 ahead of Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti and Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen.
The Swedish crowd had little to cheer until late in the evening when Daniel Staahl secured victory in the discus 69.57, his second Diamond League win of the season.
In the field, Cuban long jumper Juan Miguel Echevarria, the 20-year-old tipped as a future world record holder, had a disappointing competition and managed just 8.12 meters to the delight of the home crowd who saw Sweden's Thobias Montler win with a leap of 8.22m. — Agencies


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