Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie; club: Blackheath & Bromley) kicked off her season in perfect fashion as she set a world leading mark of 22.26s (wind: 1.1m/s) in the women’s 200m at the Doha Diamond League.
The 100m & 200m European champion and fastest woman in 2018, powered out of the blocks and opened up a near metre lead entering the home straight, extended to nearly seven metres as she stopped crossed the line for victory.
Her performance also saw her achieve the qualifying standard for the IAAF World Championships, also in Doha, and move to the top of the British 200m rankings in 2019.
After the race, Asher-Smith said: “I didn’t know what to expect in my first race of the season but I ran faster than I thought I would so I’m really happy. I ran a good race technically and this is a beautiful arena, I’m so glad I came here.
“To win in this stadium means a lot to me and it was nice to test out the arena and the track before the IAAF World Championships. There was a great championship atmosphere here and my aim is to come back here healthy and just try to do my best.
“Tonight, I didn’t expect to win in that way against such an accomplished field so it’s a good sign but the season is only just beginning.”
British compatriot and clubmate Shannon Hylton (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley) was unfortunately disqualified following a false start.
European silver medallist from Berlin Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Lance Brauman; Newham & Essex Beagles) began his 200m season with a 20.83s (1.3) run that was good enough for sixth position, while European 400m hurdles bronze medallist Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker; Birchfield Harriers) kicked off with a 56.01s clocking in the 400m hurdles, a race won by Dalilah Muhammad (USA) in a meeting record of 53.61s.
A season’s best first round jump of 6.62m (0.0) propelled Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson; Thames Valley) to the top of the British rankings in 2019 as she took second place overall in the women’s long jump.
Ugen, the world leader from 2018, backed it up with a third round 6.61m (0.5) and then produced an exact replica of her first round effort to cement her spot in fourth place on the night. British compatriot Shara Proctor (Rana Reider; Birchfield) finished eighth with a best of 6.35m (0.3) coming in the second round of competition.
In a stacked women’s 800m, Lynsey Sharp (David Harmer; Edinburgh) narrowly missed out on her first Diamond League points of the season, finishing in ninth position, stopping the clock at 2:01.51 for a season’s best. Caster Semenya (RSA) produced a world leading mark and meeting record of 1:54.98 for victory.
Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy; Middlesbrough Mandale), the first Brit in action on the night, consolidated his spot at the top of the British pole vault rankings with a 5.46m clearance as he finished in sixth position.