Asher-Smith stuns Richardson in women's 100m as Duplantis fails

·3-min read

Dina Asher-Smith shocked US sprint sensation Sha'Carri Richardson to win the women's 100m as Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis suffered a rare defeat in the first Diamond League meet of the season on Sunday.

The northeastern English city of Gateshead stepped in to host the pre-Olympic event after Rabat pulled out because of coronavirus restrictions in Morocco.

There are only six Diamond League meetings after Gateshead before the Olympic Games in Japan, which start on July 23.

And after a 2020 season badly disrupted by the global Covid-19 pandemic, there is no shortage of athletes in search of top-quality competition.

Britain's Asher-Smith, 25, started the final strongly in wet and cool conditions and crossed the line to take gold in a time of 11.35 seconds, with Richardson second in 11.44.

The Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou was third in 11.48.

Richardson is fresh from clocking 10.72sec at the Miramar Invitational last month, making her the sixth-fastest female sprinter ever.

The strong field for the final in Gateshead also included Jamaican 100m world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who finished fourth, and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria.

It was the kind of statement Asher-Smith desired after taking a prolonged absence from the track following her 200m gold at the 2019 world championships in Doha.

"I was really happy to start my 100m season with a win," she said. "It was far from ideal conditions (but) this is good practice for staying in the moment.

"It is essential to race the best. The only way to get race-fit is to race the best in the world. These are the type of races you want to be in."

The vanquished Richardson, 21, lived up to her bold persona afterwards, insisting: "I'm happy with the execution of the performance, knowing what I have to work on, and just continuing to grow and show the world I'm here to stay.

"I'm excited to show the world that my times aren't a fluke. I can run, I am pretty, and I am a force to be reckoned with. I want all the women and the world to watch out."

American Sam Kendricks beat Sweden's Duplantis -- who set a pole vault world record of 6.18m in Glasgow last year -- clearing 5.74 metres. Duplantis was second with a jump of 5.55m.

- Ingebrigtsen win -

Double European gold medallist Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway justified his favourite tag in the men's 1500m, winning in a time of 3min 36.27sec.

Ingebrigtsen, 20, said he was used to the wind and the rain from racing in Norway.

"I want to race as much as possible, that's why I'm doing this," he said. "At the same Tokyo is my main focus so I need to be smart and do what I can.

"There are not too many competitions in the near future so I have to race what I can and hopefully be prepared when Tokyo comes."

Poland's Kamila Licwinko won the women's high jump with a best of 1.91m, with three-time world champion Mariya Lasitskene trailing in fourth place.

In-form American Kenny Bednarek won the men's 200m in 20.33sec, coming home ahead of Canadian pair Aaron Brown and Andre de Grasse.

Home favourite Laura Muir destroyed her rivals in the women's 1500m, charging down the home straight to take victory in 4:03.73.

jw/td