David Rudisha starts summer in style with emphatic win


World and Olympic champion David Rudisha cruised to victory in the 800 metres at the season-opening Diamond League meet in Doha, while Justin Gatlin clocked the second fastest time of the year to win the 100m.

The Kenyan’s time of 1 minute, 43.87 seconds was significantly slower than the 1:40.91 he ran to break the world record at the 2012 London Olympics. After the pacemaker retired midway through the race, Rudisha surged to the front and was never threatened. He beat Mohammed Aman by more than a half-second, atoning for a loss to the Ethiopian at a Diamond League event in Zurich last year.

“I feel good. It was relaxing today,” Rudisha said. “It was the beginning of the season and it was first race, so there was no pressure. [Aman] defeated me in the last race of the season, and it was good to do something at least in the beginning of the season to give me more confidence.”

Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu opened her Diamond League campaign with a third-place finish in the 400m. Last year’s Olympic silver medallist ran a season-best time of 50.53sec but was beaten by Amantle Montsho of Botswana and American Allyson Felix.

Her compatriot, the Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, finished fourth in the high jump with a clearance of 2.24m.

Gatlin started slowly out of the blocks but came home in the final 20m to edge out compatriot Mike Rodgers at the line with a time of 9.97. The line-up was weaker than in previous years, with Yohan Blake pulling out injured and Usain Bolt not scheduled to compete.

“It was good. Mike has been running a really good season, so I knew he would be really good competition coming into Doha,” said Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion who returned from a four-year doping ban in 2012. “I was feeling under the weather coming into the competition. I had a fever, found out I had a sinus infection. I still wanted to come here and thought I would be ready. I was ready at the last second.”

Two Americans broke meeting records. Olympic women’s long jump champion Britney Reese leapt 7.25m, and Ryan Whiting threw 22.28m in the men’s shot put.