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Natasha Hastings, Aries Merritt Victorious As Diamond League Rolls Through Rome

By Karen Price | June 08, 2017, 5:23 p.m. (ET)

Aries Merrit celebrates after the men's 110-meter hurdles final at the 2016 IAAF World Challenge Beijing at National Stadium on May 18, 2016 in Beijing.


A pair of American track and field athletes were victorious in Diamond League events on Thursday in Rome.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Natasha Hastings won the 400-meter with a time of 50.52, her best so far this season, powering past second- and third-place finishers Novlene Williams-Mills (51.04) of Jamaica and Olha Zemlyak (51.08) of the Ukraine in a convincing victory.

Aries Merritt also got a win in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13:13. He beat Spain’s Orlando Ortega (13.17) and Sergey Shubenkov (13.21) for his first Diamond League win in Rome. Merritt also matched his season-best in the event, set last month in Eugene, Oregon. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the event is also the current world-record holder.

“I wanted to run much faster, but in the end I am happy with the season best,” said Merritt, who said he was still jetlagged after arriving in Rome just two days ago.

In addition, four U.S. athletes earned top-three finishes.

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Donavan Brazier finished third in a close men’s 800-meter, with a time of 1:46.08. Poland’s Adam Kszczot won in 1:45.96 followed by Kenya’s Kipyegon Bett in 1:46.00.

American shot putters Daniella Bunch and Michelle Carter also finished top three for Team USA. Bunch was second behind China’s Lijiao Gong (19.56) with a best throw of 18.95, and Carter, the reigning Olympic champion, was third with 18.86.

Ameer Webb was third in the men’s 200-meter with a time of 20.33. Canada’s Andre De Grasse won in 20.01 followed by France’s Christophe Lemaitre in 20.29.

The Diamond League series now moves to Oslo, Norway, beginning June 15.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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