Windy conditions at the Diamond League in Doha plays into the hands of Grenada athlete as he throws a mighty 93.07m

Wind played havoc with the first Diamond League of the 2022 season in Doha as strong gusts forced the postponement of the men’s pole featuring Mondo Duplantis. It is Friday the 13th, after all.

Some of the sprinters and horizontal jumpers benefited from strong tailwinds, though, whereas the javelin throwers thrived as the weather conditions caused their spears to fly huge distances.

Anderson Peters, the reigning world champion from Grenada, threw 93.07m to go No.5 on the world all-time lists. Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic also broke the 90-metre mark but Peters took victory with a huge, last-gasp effort.

Only world record-holder Jan Zelezny with 98.48m plus Germans Johannes Vetter (97.76m) and Thomas Röhler (93.90m) and Finland’s Aki Paviainen (93.09m) have ever thrown further.

Peters’ PB coming into the competition was 87.31m but he broke that in the first round with 88.96m and followed it up with 87.30m, 88.51m and 85.75m before breaking the 90-metre barrier in the fifth round with 90.15m.

Going into the final round Vadlejch was leading after having taken the lead with 89.87m in the fourth round and 90.86m in the fifth.

Vadlejch, the Olympic silver medallist last year, could not improve in the final round, though, whereas Peters rose to the occasion to retake the lead with a huge 93.07m.

Still, for Vadlejch it means the 31-year-old from Prague rises from No.21 on the world all-time rankings to No.16.

“I came here twice. I love to be here in Doha trying to get better and to be more in shape,” said the 24-year-old winner.

The meeting began with young athletes benefiting from tailwind speeds of up to 6.6m/sec and the men’s pole vault was soon postponed due to what would have been dangerous conditions for the event.

“Impossible,” is how world record-holder Duplantis described the conditions, but he will now look forward to competing indoors in the nearby Aspire centre on Saturday.

The rest of the meeting went ahead trouble-free and Noah Lyles and Fred Kerley benefited from a tailwind of 2.1m/sec to finish one-two in the men’s 200m in 19.72 and 19.75 respectively.

Behind, Jereem Richards of Trinidad & Tobago was third and Olympic champion Andre de Grasse fourth – both men clocking 20.15.

Noah Lyles (Getty)

The wind died a little for the women’s 200m, though, with the sprinters benefiting from a 1.3m/sec tailwind. Within the legal limits, it means winner Gabrielle Thomas of the United States equalled the meeting record with 21.98 as she beat Shericka Jackson of Jamaica (22.07) and Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (22.37).

Gabby Thomas (Getty)

World champion Asher-Smith looked disappointed after her effort although it was her first shorter sprint competition of the year after early-season, low-key races over 300m and 400m.

The wind was particularly noticeable in the women’s triple jump with Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica winning with 14.82m – a mark that was helped by a hefty 6.5m/sec tailwind. Britain’s Naomi Metgzer was eighth with 14.24m with a mere 4.7m/sec wind-assisted mark.

The gusty conditions led to some surprises too. Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo looked slightly out of sorts, for example, as the Bahamian athlete finished third in 51.84 behind Stephenie Ann McPherson of Jamaica (51.69) and winner Marileidy Paulino of Dominican Republic (51.20).

Only 18 years old, Noah Kibet won a similarly surprising men’s 800m in 1:49.08 from Peter Bol of Australia (1:49.35), Marco Arop of Canada (1:49.51) and Britain’s Dan Rowden (1:49.56).

Noah Kibet (Getty)

In a slow race that saw the runners pass halfway in 54.80, the Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Rotich of Kenya wound up fifth in 1:50.48 and world champion Donavan Brazier of the United States sixth in 1:50.58.

The men’s 400m hurdles saw a minor upset too when Olympic bronze medallist Alison dos Santos of Brazil beat Olympic silver medallist Rai Benjamin of the United States. The times – 47.24 and 47.49 – were superb in the windy conditions too and Dos Santos ran a meeting record.

Joint Olympic champions Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy had a rematch on Barshim’s home patch but both were beaten as Barshim finished second in 2.30m and Tamberi seventh with 2.20m as Woo Sang-hyeok – the Olympic fourth-placer and recent world indoor champion from South Korea – won with 2.33m.

Alison dos Santos (Getty)

Another minor upset came in the men’s 1500m when Abel Kipsang beat fellow Kenyan and reigning world champion Timothy Cheruiyot in 3:35.70 to 3:36.16 with Ethiopians Teddese Lemi (3:37.06) and Yomif Kejelcha (3:37.85) third and fourth. However, Kipsang arrived in Doha fresh from a 3:31.01 win at the Kip Keino Classic at 1600m-plus altitude in Nairobi the previous weekend.

In the women’s 3000m Francine Niyonsaba started her 2022 summer season where she left off in 2021 with another victory. The Diamond League 5000m champion from last year came into the finishing straight in Doha with Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya on her shoulder, but the Burundi athlete kicked away from the front to take the win in 8:37.70 as Kipyegon ran 8:38.05. Jessica Hull of Australia led the best of the rest with 8:40.97.

Niyonsaba’s next stop? The Müller Birmingham Diamond League on May 21.

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