Caster Semenya finishes sixth in 1,500m at Lausanne athletics meeting
Lausanne — American Noah Lyles equalled South African Clarence Munyai’s 2018 record for the 200m when he stormed home in 19.69 seconds at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting on Thursday.
Lyles, running in his favourite event, charged past compatriot Michael Norman to remain unbeaten in the event in 2018.
"I’m a little disappointed in the time. I wanted to run faster and make that world lead my own," Lyles, who also shares the year’s 100m lead, told reporters. "But I know I will be able to do it later in the season.
"I’m trying to go 19.4," the 20-year-old added. "It is a time that has been flashing in my head for a while now and I think it is about time to do it."
Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake and American Michael Johnson have ever run faster, with the retired Bolt holding the world record at 19.19 seconds.
Norman, the world indoor 400m record holder, took second in 19.88.
In a big surprise, American Shelby Houlihan stunned a high-quality women’s 1,500m field that included British record holder Laura Muir and SA’s Caster Semenya.
Houlihan, double winner in the 1,500m and 5,000m at the US championships, used her closing speed to take the shorter race in a lifetime best 3:57.34.
"I was not feeling very well [before the race]," Houlihan said. "I had to talk to myself during the race to stay in a comfortable position and the incredible crowd here brought me home during the last 200m."
Muir claimed second in 3:58.18, with Olympic and world 800m champion Semenya, whose middle-distance running career could be under threat because of a new IAAF hyperandrogenism rule, finished sixth in 4:00.44.
Another yearly best came in the men’s 5,000m, where Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew won in 13:01.09 after Ethiopians Selemon Barega, who finished second, and Yomif Kejelcha, became entangled.
Barega appeared to accidentally trip leader Kejelcha, who nearly pulled Barega to the track and was later disqualified.
Qatari Abderrahman Samba, meanwhile, continued his masterful 400m hurdling.
Samba, who ran the second-fastest time to date in the event (46.98 seconds) last week, won his sixth consecutive race by overwhelming Norwegian world champion Karsten Warholm in 47.42 seconds. Warholm was runner-up in 47.94 seconds.
Russian Sergey Shubenkov dominated the 110m hurdles, winning in 12.95 seconds to US champion Devon Allen’s 13.29.
US winner Shamier Little pipped Jamaican Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell by five-hundredths of a second to claim the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.41 seconds. American Olympic gold medallist Dalilah Muhammad faded to fourth.
The year’s top woman in the 100m, Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, held off another Olympic champion by clocking 10.90 seconds despite a slow start, to beat Jamaican Elaine Thompson (10.99).