Jamaican ace wins first major event since doping ban
ZURICH – Veronica Campbell-Brown put months of difficulties behind her following a doping ban to register her first major return victory when she took the Zurich Diamond League 100 metres in 11.04 seconds today. Her time was the same as second place Muroiel Ahoure.
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, who defeated Campbell-Brown at last month’s Commonwealth Games, was third in 11.06 seconds. Campbell-Brown’s compatriot Kerron Stewart finished fifth in 11.19 seconds at the Weltklasse meet.
Campbell-Browne returned to the track earlier this year after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed that the two-time Olympic 200m champion had been cleared of a doping violation and could race again. The 31-year-old had tested positive for a banned diuretic last May. The three-man CAS arbitration panel had indicated deplorable mistakes by Jamaican athletics and anti-doping officials in the collection of the first partial sample. The CAS said the errors could have led to the sample being contaminated by water or sweat containing a banned substance. She had been banned for two years.
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole won the men’s 100 metres ahead of American Michael Rogers and Britain’s James Dasaolu. Former world record holder Asafa Powell and ex-world champion Tyson Gay, both of whom returned from drug bans this summer, finished fourth and eighth respectively. Panama’s Alonso Edward held off Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade to win the men’s 200.
American long jumper Christian Taylor, born in Georgia to Barbadian parents, was also in brilliant form, even if he left it to the very last. The Olympic champion snatched the men’s triple jump with his final leap of 17.51 metres, overhauling European champion Benjamin Compaore of France who had led with his second jump of 17.45.
Botswana’s Nijel Amos repeated his Commonwealth Games win over Olympic champion David Rudisha in the men’s 800 metres. Amos surged down the home straight to win while Rudisha, who tried to attack from the back, did not have the legs to catch him and finished third after being caught by Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman.
“I ran my own race; I felt very good,” said Amos, silver medallist behind Rudisha at the Olympic Games, after winning in 1:43.77.
“It is no surprise for me to win the race today . . . I do not think about who is in the race, whether it is Rudisha or somebody else.”
Rudisha, the world record holder, said he was glad to be nearly fully fit after an injury-hit season.
“I am at 85 or 90 per cent of my shape,” said the Kenyan. “I am not at my best form. I wanted to see if I could run a tactical race from behind. I am happy now after my injury problems . . . . Hopefully, I can come back strong next year. It was a good experiment for me; it was good to test myself.”
World champion Lashawn Merritt managed to summon enough enthusiasm to win the men’s 400 metres, cruising home in 44.36 seconds, more than 1/2 a second ahead of fellow American Gil Roberts with Botswana’s Isaac Makwala in third.
“I was not that motivated for this race because I had been home for more than a month . . . and I had not raced for five weeks,” he said.
“But this is my job. I did it for the people waiting for me. So, I motivated myself to come out and give a great performance.”
South Africa’s Commonwealth champion Cornel Fredericks pipped his rivals in the last few metres to win the men’s 400 metres hurdles ahead of American Michael Tinsley and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson in 48.25 seconds.
“Next year, I would like to run under 48 seconds; this is my ultimate goal. And I would like to win an Olympic gold medal,” said Fredericks. “I learn a lot with every race.”
American Reese Hoffa was too strong for European and world champion David Storl as he won the men’s shot put with a throw of 21.88 metres.
Croatia’s Olympic, world and European discus champion Sandra Perkovic, who threw 71.08 metres to claim the European title at the same venue earlier this month, won the women’s event with 68.36 metres, ahead of American Gia Lewis-Smallwood, the only woman to beat her this year.
But Perkovic was still not happy, saying: “I am not satisfied with my winning result. I would like to have thrown over 70 metres, even 71 metres . . . I really came here to show more and it did not work.”
There was a dramatic finish in the women’s 1,500 metres when American pair Jennifer Simpson and Shannon Rowbury fell over the line after colliding in the last few metres.
Simpson just managed to hold on for the win after Rowbury made a dramatic late charge down the inside.
“That was a more dramatic finish than normal,” said Simpson.
American Dawn Harper-Nelson, the fastest in the world in the 100 metres hurdles this year, won the women’s event in 12.58 seconds, ahead of Australia’s Olympic champion Sally Pearson and Britain’s European title holder Tiffany Porter who was third.