Sweden's Daniel Stahl produced one of the finest discus series in history to highlight action on the infield at the Doha 2019 IAAF Diamond League meeting in the Qatari capital on Friday.
The event was attended by His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) who honoured First Secretary General of the Qatar Athletics Federation Saad Lamloum Al Mesaifri, in recognition of his efforts from 1984 to 1996.
In the most dominant display of the night, the 26-year-old put the competition out of reach in the first round, throwing his discus 69.63m through the Doha night sky to break the meeting record set by Virgilijus Alekna in 2006. But he was just shaking off the rust.
Stahl followed up with throws of 70.49m and 70.56m, his farthest of the night, before capping the evening with efforts of 69.54m, 69.50m and 70.32m to become the first man to produce six throws beyond 69.50m in a single competition.
"I've been working a lot on my technique and training hard in the gym so I expected this," said the world and European silver medallist. "It was a great atmosphere."
Lukas Weisshaidinger was second with 66.90m with Ehsan Hadadi of Iran, who took the Asian title here two weeks ago, third with 66.78m.
In the men's 800m, Qatari hope Addalla Abubaker Haydar put in an impressive performance but had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
Abdalla, who won gold in the Asian Championship at the same venue 11 days back, was in contention till his final stride and was only beaten to the bronze by a lunge to the tape from USA's Donavan Brazier.
Nijel Amos of Botswana won the gold in 1:44.29sec and Kipkurui Emmanuel Korir took silver in 1:44.50.
Hosting a field of seven men who have thrown 22 metres or better, the assemblage of talent in the men's shot put was the deepest of the evening. There, the proceedings went largely according to the early season form book with world leader Ryan Crouser prevailing in a tight battle with world champion Tom Walsh.
After a modest 20.06m effort in the opening round, Crouser unleashed a 22.13m toss in the second, a mark that held out for the win.
"I really felt the effects of 20 hours of travel, so I'm really glad that the 22.13m held out for the win," said Crouser, who produced a 22.74m blast on 20 April to move up to sixth on the world all-time list.
Walsh, the Diamond League winner last year, reached 22.06m in the third round to secure the runner-up spot with South American record-holder Darlan Romani third with 21.60m.
Unlike Walsh, Caterine Ibarguen, the 2018 Athlete of the Year and double Diamond Trophy winner, did manage to pick up where she left off last season, taking a victory in the long jump by two centimetres.
Brooke Stratton of Australia took command with a 6.73m leap in round two, but was overtaken in the fifth round when the competition sprung to life. Ibarguen reached 6.76m to take the lead and seal the win ahead of Ukraine's Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, the runner-up at last year's European Championships, who leapt 6.74m.
"It was a good series of jumps but three fouls is not great," the Colombian said. She's hoping to remedy that in her next competition, which is set for Rome.
World champion Sam Kendricks drew first blood in the men's pole vault wars, taking the victory with a second-attempt clearance at 5.80m. Olympic champion Thiago Braz was second at 5.71m, his best outdoor leap since the season of his Rio triumph. Japan's Seito Yamamoto was third at 5.61m.
"For some strange reason we all had issues out there so it was an odd one," said Kendricks, who equalled his outdoor season's best.
Yaroslava Mahuchikh topped a lifetime best of 1.96m in the high jump to become, at 17 years and 226 days, the youngest woman to win a Diamond League event. The Ukrainian teenager topped the winning height on her second attempt to add a centimetre to her previous best. In what turned out to be a low-key competition, Mirela Demireva, Erika Kinsey and Ana Simic tied for second at 1.91m.
Among the top performers were Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali in the men's 300m steeplechase, Kenya's Hellen Obiri in women's 3000m, Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain in women's 200m, Ramil Guliyev of Turkey in the men's 200m, and Swede Daniel Stahl in men's discus throw.
For the 10th consecutive year, the Doha meeting kicked off the IAAF Diamond League, a series of the 14 finest one-day athletics competitions on the planet, and with it, the season-long chase for a slice of the $US8 million Diamond League prize pot. Athletes earn points in the first 12 stops to earn qualification for the two final winner-takes-all meetings to be held in Zurich (29 Aug) and Brussels (6 Sep). (QNA)
Cover image credit: Track Alerts
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