Doha DL — A Fast 400 Win For Michael Norman

Michael Norman’s year-leading 44.27 took the measure of big names Fred Kerley and Kirani James. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI)

DOHA, QATAR, MAY 28 — The season’s second Diamond League gathering brought elites together in considerably warmer conditions than Gateshead’s chilly wind and rain had featured last weekend (100-plus degrees [40+ C]), with Michael Norman prevailing in the most intriguing matchup, the men’s 400.

While World Record holder Wayde van Niekerk and reigning world champ Steven Gardiner were unavailable — each nursing injuries sustained at meets in the last 10 days — Norman, the fastest 400 man of the post-Rio period at 43.45, lined up against the rest of the WC medalist crew, Anthony Zambrano and Fred Kerley. Adding to the allure was the newfound 100 speed Americans Norman (9.86) and Kerley (9.91) found in pandemic ’20 and ’21.

Starting fast in lane 5, Norman made up the stagger on ’12 Olympic gold medalist Kirani James to his outside before halfway as Kerley (lane 4) and Zambrano (3) essayed more cautious tempos through the lap’s first 200.

Around the second bend Kerley ate up ground to hit the straight a step or two behind his U.S. rival with Zambrano 2–3m back in 5th. The Colombian came hard in the stretch to overtake James some 30m out and outleaned Kerley at the line but Norman, holding form without a hiccup, charged across the line 2m and 0.5 ahead to reduce the yearly world lead to 44.27. Kerley, 0.03 behind Zambrano, crossed in 44.60 to James’s 44.61.

Said the winner, “I was happy to be back here because the last time I didn’t have a good performance here [at the World Championships], and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.

“I give a lot of credit to my coach [Quincy Watts] for everything he does for me, we are on the right path. My next [DL] focus is Monaco, but I hope that my schedule will allow me to go there.”

In the night’s first Diamond event on the track, the 400H, Norman’s training mate Rai Benjamin — having knocked out a world-leading 47.13 win at the USATF Golden Games in Walnut 3 weeks before — had spoken of a possible sub-47 clocking here, though his competitive focus had to be on local sub-47 man Abderrahmane Samba a lane to his left in 4.

With just a pair of recent flat 400s on his résumé in the last year and a half since taking bronze to Benjamin’s silver at the WC, Samba’s shape was a cipher. The greater threats proved to be the pair who followed Benjamin in Walnut, Kyron McMaster and Alison dos Santos. Both led Benjamin at hurdle 3. On the back half of the backstretch, string-bean-built dos Santos, who is just 20, hurdled with abandon in lane 6.

Benjamin pressed to catch up, knocking down hurdle 7, yet touched down almost even with the Brazilian a lane to his right at hurdle 9 and salted the race away running to the last barrier.

Benjamin strode controlled through the line in 47.38 safely clear of dos Santos (47.57) and WC 4th-placer McMaster (47.82) as Samba followed, essentially by himself, in 48.26. American Kenny Selmon was 5th (49.03).

“It was a good and decent race, but not the best for me,” said Benjamin. “I always try to do my best. Doha is warm so it is perfect for running. My next focus is the Olympic Trials.”

The women’s steeple too featured a robust tilt, at 9:00 velocity, and finished with a world lead set. Kenyan Norah Tanui, though not the most sparkling starter in terms of world-level medals to start — those being ’17 world champion Emma Coburn and Rio silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng — pressed throughout the race and was thought to have been enlisted as the second pacer. In any case, the 25-year-old Kenyan stuck in it the whole way.

Reaching the bell still in front with Kiyeng and 19-year-old Ethiopian Mekides Abebe Demewoz in close contact, she led up the backstraight. And to the final water jump, where Kiyeng, seemingly trying to pounce, instead plunged into the drink.

Tanui floated away with arms swinging wide to finish well clear in 9:00.67, the No. 16 performance in event history. Teen Demewoz’s 9:02.52 was an Ethiopian Record and made her the No. 9 performer all-time. Kenyan-born Bahraini Winfred Yavi closed strong for 3rd and the No. 10 all-time spot in 9:02.64.

Coburn, in her first steeple since earning silver here at the ’19 Worlds, showed little rust finishing 5th at 9:08.22 to take the U.S. seasonal lead. It was the second-fastest opener of the 30-year-old’s career.

Reigning world champ Timothy Cheruiyot captured the 1500 in a year-leading 3:30.48. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI)

In the vertical jumps formidable champions were defeated. Russian high jumper Ilya Ivanyuk, the Worlds bronze medalist, took down 2-time world champ Mutaz Barshim clearing 7-7¾ (2.33) as the local favorite managed 7-6½ (2.30).

In the women’s vault Katie Nageotte took the first DL win of her career, getting over 15-10½ (4.84) on first try. Sandi Morris, a silver medalist on her last trip to Doha and also at the Worlds of ’17 and the Rio Olympics — needed two to clear at that height so wound up 2nd. Rio champion Katerína Stefanídi was 5th and part of a trio who finished with 15-6½ (4.74).

It remains not clear that anybody outside WA headquarters is staunchly enamored of the DL’s new last-round-for-all-the-marbles format. Men’s shot winner Armin Sinančević, for one, may not be.

The Serbian went to the lead over Tom Walsh and Filip Mihaljević with an NR-equaling 71-9½ (21.88) in round 5 but ended up 3rd after a sixth-frame foul past the 22m line.

Similarly, discus AR holder Valarie Allman spun out a 215-1 (65.57) to set up what under traditional rules would have been her first DL victory and a win over veteran stars Sandra Perković and Yaimé Pérez. Instead the last-round results dropped the U.S. leader to 2nd, despite having the day’s two longest throws. Places 2-3 were similarly affected in the women’s TJ.


DOHA DL MEN’S RESULTS

Non-DL100(0.9): 1. Femi Ogunode (Qat) 10.00.

200(0.4): 1. Kenny Bednarek (US) 19.88; 2. André De Grasse (Can) 19.89; 3. Aaron Brown (Can) 20.25; 4. Emmanuel Matadi (Lbr) 20.45; 5. Justin Gatlin (US) 20.49; 6. Adam Gemili (GB) 20.58; 7. Arthur Cissé (CI) 20.91; 8. Ramil Guliyev (Tur) 21.09.

400: 1. Michael Norman (US) 44.27 (WL, AL);

2. Anthony Zambrano (Col) 44.57; 3. Fred Kerley (US) 44.60; 4. Kirani James (Grn) 44.61; 5. Vernon Norwood (US) 44.87; 6. Mazen Al-Yassin (Sau) 45.78; 7. Ammar Ismail Yahya Ibrahim (Qat) 46.10; 8. Kevin Borlée (Bel) 46.29.

800: 1. Wyclife Kinyamal (Ken) 1:43.91 (out WL);

2. Ferguson Cheruiyot (Ken) 1:44.45; 3. Daniel Rowden (GB) 1:44.60; 4. Amel Tuka (Bos) 1:44.76; 5. Adrián Ben (Spa) 1:45.10; 6. Tshepo Tshite (SA) 1:45.54; 7. Jamal Hairane (Qat) 1:45.87; 8. Abdirahman Saeed Hassan (Qat) 1:45.99 PR; 9. Jamie Webb (GB) 1:48.60;… rabbit—Cornelius Tuwei (Ken) (50.29).

Non-DL 800: 1. Mohamed Ali Gouaned (Alg) 1:45.47; 2. Mouad Zahafi (Mor) 1:46.65;… 6. Erik Sowinski (US) 1:47.40.

1500: 1. Timothy Cheruiyot (Ken) 3:30.48 (WL);

2. Stewart McSweyn (Aus) 3:31.57; 3. Soufiane El Bakkali (Mor) 3:31.95; 4. Samuel Tefera (Eth) 3:32.52 (2:48.26); 5. Bethwell Birgen (Ken) 3:33.64; 6. Ronald Musagala (Uga) 3:35.99; 7. Vincent Kibet (Ken) 3:36.15; 8. Mohamed Al Garni (Qat) 3:36.75; 9. Adam Ali Musab (Qat) 3:36.96; 10. Kalle Berglund (Swe) 3:37.92; 11. Hamza Driouch (Qat) 3:39.89; 12. Matthew Ramsden (Aus) 3:40.89; 13. Ryan Gregson (Aus) 3:42.93;… rabbit—Sowinski (54.30, 56.47 [1:50.77]).

Non-DL St: 1. Moses Kipsang (Ken) 8:30.01; 2. Yaser Salem Bagharab (Qat) 8:35.36.

400H: 1. Rai Benjamin (US) 47.38; 2. Alison Dos Santos (Bra) 47.57 PR; 3. Kyron McMaster (BVI) 47.82; 4. Abderrahman Samba (Qat) 48.26; 5. Kenny Selmon (US) 49.03; 6. Yasmani Copello (Tur) 49.11; 7. Thomas Barr (Ire) 49.91; 8. David Kendziera (US) 50.39.

Non-DL 400H: 1. Ashraf Hussen Osman (Qat) 49.58.

Field Events

HJ: 1. Ilya Ivanyuk (Rus) 7-7¾ (2.33) (missed 7-8¾/2.36); 2. Mutaz Barshim (Qat) 7-6½ (2.30); 3. Andriy Protsenko (Ukr) 7-5¼ (2.27); 4. Brandon Starc (Aus) 7-5¼; 5. tie, Derek Drouin (Can) & Jamal Wilson (Bah) 7-4¼ (2.24); 7. Maksim Nedasekau (Blr) 7-4¼; 8. Donald Thomas (Bah) 7-2½ (2.20); 9. tie, Trey Culver (US) & Hamdi Alamin (Qat) 7-½ (2.15).

SP: 1. Armin Sinančević (Ser) 71-9½ (21.88) =NR (f, 70-1½, 69-10¾, 70-8½, 71-9½, f) (f, 21.37, 21.30, 21.55, 21.88, f); 2. Tomas Walsh (NZ) 70-11¾ (21.63) (70-10, f, 70-5, 70-5, f, 70-11¾) (21.59, f, 21.46, 21.46, f, 21.63); 3. Filip Mihaljević (Cro) 70-9¼ (21.57) (66-7, 67-9¾, 68-6½, 70-9¼, 69-8¾, 68-6½) (20.29, 20.67, 20.89, 21.57, 21.25, 20.89) (under DL last-round protocol, official finish was Walsh-Mihaljević-Sinančević); 4. Mostafa Amr Hassan (Egy) 69-3½ (21.12); 5. Zane Weir (Ita) 66-5¾ (20.26); 6. Mesud Pezer (Bos) 65-7¾ (20.01); 7. Konrad Bukowiecki (Pol) 65-4¼ (19.92); 8. Franck Elemba (Cgo) 61-8¼ (18.80).

DOHA DL WOMEN’S RESULTS

100(1.1): 1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jam) 10.84; 2. Blessing Okagbare (Ngr) 10.90; 3. Javianne Oliver (US) 11.03; 4. Marie-Josée Ta Lou (CI) 11.12; 5. Hannah Cunliffe (US) 11.22; 6. Kiara Parker (US) 11.26; 7. Ajla Del Ponte (Swi) 11.36.

800: 1. Faith Kipyegon (Ken) 1:58.26; 2. Natoya Goule (Jam) 1:59.70; 3. Rababe Arafi (Mor) 1:59.83; 4. Habitam Alemu (Eth) 2:00.02; 5. Keely Hodgkinson (GB) 2:00.63; 6. Winnie Nanyondo (Uga) 2:01.76; 7. Hedda Hynne (Nor) 2:02.47; 8. Hanna Green (US) 2:02.71;… rabbit—Noelie Yarigo (Ben) (59.11).

3000: 1. Beatrice Chebet (Ken) 8:27.49 (out WL);

2. Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (Ken) 8:28.27; 3. Lilian Rengeruk (Ken) 8:28.96; 4. Hellen Obiri (Ken) 8:33.98 (5:44.21); 5. Sheila Chelangat (Ken) 8:36.20; 6. Yasemin Can (Tur) 8:39.47; 7. Hawi Feysa (Eth) 8:39.88; 8. Eva Cherono (Ken) 8:43.67; 9. Dominique Scott (SA) 8:51.39; 10. Camille Buscomb (NZ) 8:58.10; 11. Siham Hilali (Mor) 9:03.87;… rabbit—Winny Chebet (Ken) 2:49.94.

St: 1. Norah Tanui (Ken) 9:00.67 (WL) (x, 16 W); 2. Mekides Abebe Demewoz (Eth) 9:02.52 NR (9, x W); 3. Winfred Yavi (Bhr) 9:02.64 PR (10, x W);

4. Hyvin Kiyeng (Ken) 9:07.58 (6:02.16) (fell at last water jump);

5. Emma Coburn (US) 9:08.22 (AL);

6. Maruša Mišmaš-Zrimšek (Slo) 9:16.82 NR; 7. Gesa Felicitas Krause (Ger) 9:16.89; 8. Peruth Chemutai (Uga) 9:22.09; 9. Rosefline Chepngetich (Ken) 9:30.80; 10. Marwa Bouzayani (Tun) 9:32.74 PR; 11. Luiza Gega (Alb) 9:34.20; 12. Genevieve Gregson (Aus) 9:35.27; 13. Lili Anna Tóth (Hun) 9:47.48 PR;… rabbit—Fancy Cherono (Ken) (2:55.99).

Field Events

PV: 1. Katie Nageotte (US) 15-10½ (4.84) (14-9, 15-2¾, 15-6½, 15-10½, 16-¾ [xxx]) (4.50, 4.64, 4.74, 4.84, 4.90 [xxx]); 2. Sandi Morris (US) 15-10½ (14-9 [2], 15-2¾, 15-6½, 15-10½ [2], 16-¾ [xxx]) (4.50 [2], 4.64, 4.74, 4.84 [2], 4.90 [xxx]); 3. Holly Bradshaw (GB) 15-6½ (4.74); 4. Tina Šutej (Slo) 15-6½; 4. Katerína Stefanídi (Gre) 15-6½; 6. Iryna Zhuk (Blr) 15-6½ NR; 7. Anzhelika Sidorova (Rus) 15-2¾ (4.64); 8. Angelica Bengtsson (Swe) 14-9 (4.50);… nh—Alysha Newman (Can).

TJ: 1. Yulimar Rojas (Ven) 49-8½ (15.15) (49-8½, f, f, 47-4½, f, 49-7) (15.15, f, f, 14.44, f, 15.11); 2. Shanieka Ricketts (Jam) 49-1¾ (14.98) (47-2½, 47-10¾, f, 48-10, 49-1¾, f) (14.39, 14.60, f, 14.88, 14.98, f); 3. Kim Williams (Jam) 48-2½ (14.69) (DL rules: Williams beat Ricketts); 4. Thea LaFond (Dom) 47-9¾w (14.57) (46-6¼/14.18); 5. Keturah Orji (US) 47-1¾ (14.37); 6. Olha Saladukha (Ukr) 46-¾w (14.04) (45-7¾/13.91); 7. Parinya Chuaimaroeng (Tha) 45-10½ (13.98); 8. Caterine Ibargüen (Col) 45-5¾ (13.86); 9. Paraskeví Papahrístou (Gre) 45-4½ (13.83); 10. Olga Rypakova (Kaz) 44-6¾ (13.58).

DT: 1. Valarie Allman (US) 215-1 (65.57) (192-5, f, 201-6, 215-1, 211-8, 192-2) (58.66, f, 61.43, 65.57, 64.53, 58.58); 2. Yaimé Pérez (Cub) 209-2 (63.75) ((207-0, 209-2, f, f, 206-4, 201-3) (63.10, 63.75, f, f, 62.90, 61.35); 3. Sandra Perković (Cro) 208-8 (63.60) (208-8, f, f, 200-2, 206-5) (63.60, f, f, 61.03, 62.93, f ) (DL rules: Pérez beat Allman); 4. Claudine Vita (Ger) 206-11 (63.06); 5. Denia Caballero (Cub) 206-8 (63.00); 6. Marija Tolj (Cro) 199-4 (60.76); 7. Subenrat Insaeng (Tha) 191-4 (58.33); 8. Nadine Müller (Ger) 189-8 (57.83); 9. Whitney Ashley (US) 174-7 (53.21).

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