FLORENCE: Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith clocked her fastest time outside of a major championships as she powered to victory in the 200 metres at the third Diamond League meeting of the season in Florence on Thursday.
The 25-year-old world champion laid down a strong marker ahead of the Tokyo Olympics with a time of 22.06 seconds that left her more than half a second ahead of the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou.
Just six weeks out from the Olympics, a glut of top track and field athletes rewarded the crowd in the Italian city with some stunning performances in perfect conditions.
In the men’s 100m, South African Akani Simbine edged Britain’s Chijindu Ujah to the line by two-hundredths of a second with a time of 10.08 seconds.
The surprise of the evening in Florence, which was hosting the meeting while Rome’s Stadio Olimpico is unavailable as it hosts Euro 2020 matches, was Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen setting a European record in the men’s 5,000m.
The 20-year-old stormed clear in the final 200m to finish in 12:48.45, smashing his personal best by almost 14 seconds and finishing more than six seconds clear of world record holder Joshua Cheptegei who trailed in sixth.
Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands edged ahead of Kenya’s Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon on the final straight to win a thrilling women’s 1,500m by 0.28 seconds.
Dutch 21-year-old Femke Bol continued her impressive rise with a personal best 53.44 seconds in the women’s 400m hurdles, her third Diamond League victory.
Double Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia registered a 43rd Diamond League victory in the discus, winning with her biggest throw in two years of 68.31m.
Jamaica’s Omar McLeod ran a world leading time of 13.01 seconds to win the men’s 110m hurdles, while in-form Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico clocked 12.38sec to better the women’s 100m hurdles meet record that had stood since 1980.
New Zealand’s Tom Walsh won the shot put ahead of local favourite Leonardo Fabbri who threw a seasons best 21.71 metres in his home city to finish third.
Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021