By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE International Amateur Athletic Federation’s Diamond League started on Friday in the Qatari capital of Doha with Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan and hurdler Jeffery Gibson picking up a third and fifth place respectively in their signature events.
Strachan, 21, clocked a season’s best of 22.69sec in the 200m to trail American Allyson Felix, who won in 21.98 with Murielle Ahoure, of the Ivory Coast, second in 22.29. Felix’s time is the world’s fastest this year, surpassing Bahamian Shaunae Miller’s 22.14 that she posted last weekend at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica.
For Strachan, her time improved on her previous season’s best of 22.89 that she ran on April 17 in Auburn, Alabama. Ahoure tied American Tori Bowie in third spot with her 22.29, Bowie running her time as she finished second behind Miller in Kingston.
Miller, the new Bahamian national record holder, Strachan and Tynia Gaither, a junior at the University of South Carolina, have all dipped under the 200m qualifying time of 23.20 for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China from August 22-30. Gaither ran 22.98 on April 3.
Strachan, the IAAF Rising Star award winner in 2012, now sits in third place in the Grand Prix standings behind Felix and Ahoure.
Gibson had to settle for fifth in the men’s 400m hurdles in 49.48sec. The race was won by American Bershawn Jackson in a new world leading time this season of 48.09. Javier Culson, of Puerto Rico, was second in 48.96, followed by Thomas Barr, of Ireland, in 48.99 and Jack Green, of Great Britain, in 49.31.
Gibson, who emerged onto the international scene last year when he won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in a national record breaking performance, was off his season’s best of 49.42 that he ran in Kingston for third place last weekend.
In both races so far this year, Gibson has gone under the IAAF World Championships qualifying time of 49.50. The 24-year-old sits just ahead of fellow Bahamian Patrick Bodie, who ran a season’s best of 49.63 in Gainesville, Florida, on April 3 on the IAAF’s top performance list.
The IAAF Diamond League is comprised of 14 of the best invitational track and field meetings in the world. The meetings are spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US, and are part of the top tier of the IAAF’s global one-day meeting competition structure. The series, which began in 2010, showcases 32 event disciplines which are carefully distributed among the meetings.
In each discipline, there is a Diamond Race with points available throughout the 14-meeting season. Winners of each Diamond Race receive a US$40,000 cash prize and a spectacular Diamond Trophy.