Grenada’s Anderson Peters was brilliant in the javelin at the first Diamond League of the 2022 season in Doha, held in such windy conditions that the men’s pole vault was cancelled.
Some of the sprinters and jumpers benefited from strong tailwinds, though, whereas the javelin throwers thrived from the tailwind.
Peters, 24, the reigning world champion, threw 93.07 metres on Friday to go No.5 on the world all-time lists. Returning to the city where he won the world title in 2019, he opened with a national record of 88.96m, then following it with 87.30m and 88.51m.
Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch then took the lead in round four with a lifetime best of 89.87m, but Peters responded in the next round with 90.19m, another Grenadian record. Just moments later, Vadlejch hit back with an almighty leading 90.88m effort.
Vadlejch, the Olympic silver medallist last year, could not improve in the final round, though, whereas Peters rose to the occasion to retake the lead with his winning throw.
“I came here twice. I love to be here in Doha trying to get better and to be more in shape,” said Peters.
The strong winds finally died down in time for the women’s 200m – the only sprint event to register a legal wind reading – and it resulted in Gabby Thomas equalling Allyson Felix’s meeting record of 21.98 seconds.
The Olympic silver medallist was level with world champion Dina Asher-Smith and Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson for most of the bend, but began to edge ahead as she entered the straight. Jamaican Jackson didn’t give up without a fight, but Thomas proved to be stronger at the end and crossed the line in 21.98 to hold off Jackson (22.07).
Asher-Smith, making her seasonal debut at this distance, was third in 22.37.
The men’s 200m was even closer in a race where three global champions clashed.
Noah Lyles kept US compatriot Fred Kerley at bay, prevailing in 19.72. His time would have broken the meeting record had it not been for the marginally illegal wind reading of 2.1m/s. Kerley finished just 0.03 in arrears, while world indoor 400m champion Jereem Richards took third place in 20.15, just ahead of Olympic champion Andre De Grasse, who clocked the same time in fourth.
“I perform better under pressure,” said Lyles, “and the crowd makes me excited. I feel good and satisfied about where I’m at right now.”
In their first clash since the Tokyo Games, Olympic silver medallist Marileidy Paulino got the better of two-time Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the 400m.
Miller-Uibo took an early lead, but Paulino gained a slight advantage over the Bahamian at half way. Paulino continued to pull away in the second half and Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson closed on Miller-Uibo. Paulino eventually reached the finish line a clear winner in 51.20 from McPherson (51.69) and Miller-Uibo (51.84).
It was Miller-Uibo’s first loss at 400m since her last run in Doha, which was at the 2019 World Championships.
In a triple jump competition with strong tailwinds, Jamaica’s world silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts dealt best with the conditions and won with a wind-assisted 14.82m. World indoor silver medallist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk was second with 14.73m.