By Neil Leverett
- Christian Coleman lays down 100m marker on Day 1 of World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar
- American clocks 9.98 in heats, as Adam Gemili and Zharnel Hughes progress to semi-finals
- Lynsey Sharp fails to qualify for semi-finals, as 400m hurdle showdown nears
DOHA, QATAR – Christian Coleman is the man to beat in men’s 100m, as Brits enjoy mixed fortunes on Day 1 of the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
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Coleman cruises in 100m heats; Hughes, Gemili progress
As the opening day of the 2019 World Athletics Championship began in Doha, all eyes were on the big pull of the day with the heats of the men’s 100m igniting events in the Qatari capital.
With a cloud hanging over his participation after a number of drug testing infractions, Christian Coleman shrugged off a lack of recent big-game competition, qualifying fastest for Saturday’s semi-final in a time of 9.98.
The American was the only man to clock under ten seconds in Round 1, but will be joined in the Saturday’s finals by all three British athletes, with Zharnel Hughes the best of the Brit bunch, recovering from a slow to win his heat in 10.08.
Adam Gemili came through an early test in a heat containing defending World champion Justin Gatlin and Canada’s Andre de Grasse, finishing third behind both men and will hope to book his place in Saturday’s Blue-Riband finale in the semi-finals.
Usual suspects in 2011 champion Yohan Blake, 2019 Diamond League race winners Aaron Brown and Akani Simbine and America’s Mike Rodger also progressed and most pleasingly from a British point of view Ojie Edoburun, who after a tense wait finished the fourth of the fastest losers to complete a British trio into Saturday’s showdown.
Wilson dominant, Sharp shock for Lynsey
In the women’s 800m qualifiers, favourite Ajee Wilson looks to have a fight on her hands for Gold from Winnie Nanyondo in particular, after the Ugandan posted the fastest time in the heats in a time of 2:00.38, as Wilson finished in 11th fastest in winning her heat in contained fashion.
Wilson, who has won four times on the 2019 Diamond League circuit this year looked a little unsure as she battled her way through her heat, but with plenty left in the tank, clearly will look to turn on the style in the next Round.
For the Britons involved their were mixed fortunes. Shelayna Oskan-Clarke stuttered in her contest, but battled through a physical field, whilst Alex Bell finished strongly in her heat to sneak through in third.
For Lynsey Sharp however, her competition in Doha ended before it got started. With the Scot described as being in the best shape of her life, Sharp failed to get to grips with the stifling Doha conditions and floundered to finish out of the qualifying spots.
400m hurdle showdown on course
In what is set to be one of the showpiece races of the Championships, all the big players in the men’s 400m hurdles successfully negotiated their way into Saturday’s semi-finals, with home favourite Abderrahman Samba clocking the quickest time of 49.08.
With questions over the Qatari’s fitness, Samba looked to be labouring on the back straight before opening up over the final hurdles to win his heat comfortably.
As defending champion, Karsten Warholm is regarded by many as favourite for Doha victory after a superb season and looked at his imperious best, easing off to run 49.28.
The other athlete of the big three in the event, Rai Benjamin also came home first, joined by the British Virgin Islands’ Kyron McMaster, tipped as the one who play spoiler in Doha. Britain’s Chris McAlister achieved a superb fourth to also reach Saturday’s semi’s.
There was disappointment for Morgan Lake, who failed to qualify for Monday evening’s high jump final, going out after failing to clear 1.89m. The Briton who won Commonwealth silver on the Gold Coast in 2018, has struggled this season with injury.
Holly Bradshaw however, expended little energy in progressing to the pole vault final, though the Preston athlete had to wait to clear 4.60 and book her place on Sunday evening.
Controversy reigned in the men’s 5000m heats, as Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen was disqualified almost 30 minutes after his race for stepping off the track. The decision allowed Britain’s Andrew Butchart – on the bubble of qualification – to make the final. Brother Filip and Henrik however did take their place on Monday, as the USA’s Paul Chelimo goes into the final fastest.
Day 2 of the 2019 World Athletics Championships continue in Doha on Saturday, beginning with the heats of the women’s 100m from 2.30pm UK time.
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