Justin Gatlin wins the men's 100-meter during the SEIKO Golden Grand Prix at Todoroki Stadium on May 8, 2016 in Kawasaki, Japan.
Led by a strong showing in the men’s 100-meter, U.S. athletes won four events at the Diamond League meet on Saturday in Shanghai.
The U.S. went 1-3-5 in the men’s 100, led by two-time Olympian and reigning world silver medalist Justin Gatlin. Showing progress in his recovery from an ankle injury, Gatlin hit the tape in 9.94 seconds, 0.13 ahead of Qatar’s Femi Ogunode’s 10.07. Michael Rodgers was third in 10.10 and 2012 U.S. Olympian Isiah Young fifth in 10.22 seconds. Gatlin’s time was 0.03 off the world’s best this season, a 9.91 by Ogunode on April 22.
“I came out here to execute,” Gatlin said. “I know it being an Olympic year, it is a long season and my coach and I have a plan. He is training me like Mike Tyson, to knock out the opposition and keep swinging! The ankle injury over the winter made it a difficult preparation, but Diamond League races are important to win.”
Michael Tinsley won the men’s 400-meter hurdles in a time of 48.90, 0.11 ahead of Poland’s Patryk Dobek. Kerron Clement, a two-time Olympian who took silver in the event at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, finished seventh, crossing the line in 49.56 seconds.
“It was a good start to the season,” said Tinsley. “I really wanted to execute that second bend, and I felt I did that quite well. I was under a lot of pressure down the home straight, and it was good that I managed to hold them off.”
Kurt Roberts won men’s shot put with a toss of 21.40 meters, his best this season and 0.2 meters past New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, who placed second. Joe Kovacs, the reigning Diamond League and world champion, was third, reaching 20.82 meters. Americans Jordan Clarke and Ryan Whiting were sixth and eighth, throwing 20.30 and 19.34 meters, respectively.
“During the competition I was thinking about my little daughter, who is 7 months old,” said Roberts. “I did this for my little baby girl. It is nice to have this shape already this early in the season. At the Olympics I think I will be in 22-meter shape. For now, I’m focused on the Olympic Trials.”
Sam Kendricks picked up his first Diamond League win in men’s pole vault, clearing 5.88 meters to best reigning Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France, who took second at 5.83 meters.
“I knew here in Shanghai, with it being the opening od the Diamond League season, that the field would be stacked,” he said. “We had the world indoor and outdoor champion, and the Chinese vaulters with home field advantage. I just had to take the competition one height at a time, and I’m pleased to come out on top. I’ve finished second, third, fourth and fifth in Diamond League meets before, but never first.”
Tianna Bartoletta finished third in women’s long jump with a season-best effort of 6.75 meters, 0.2 meters behind first-place Ivana Spanovic of Serbia. Janay DeLoach, who won bronze in the event at the 2012 Olympics, was sixth at 6.48 meters, while Funmi Jimoh, a 2008 Olympian, finished seventh at 6.43 meters.
“There was good news and bad news,” said Bartoletta, a 2012 Olympic sprinter who was part of the gold-medal-winning 4x100-meter team in London. “The good news is I’m jumping far for this early in the season. The bad news is I’m jumping 30, 40 or 50 centimeters behind the board. I need to take this result with a grain of salt. I overhauled my sprint mechanics for much of the winter and I’ve only been jumping for the past two months.”
Natasha Hastings was third and Ashley Spencer fifth in the women’s 400-meter. Hastings crossed the line in 51.10 seconds, 0.65 behind the 50.45 time of Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas. Spencer circled the track in 52.46 seconds.