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.
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.