Thompson sails through but Taplin disqualified


Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson led a host of favourites through opening heats of the women's 60m at the world indoors on Friday, but there was drama in the men's 400m as in-form Grenadan Bralon Taplin was disqualified.

Thompson has not come close to the 6.98sec she ran during the last indoor season, but the Jamaican looked more than comfortable as she came in second on the coattails of Ivory Coast's Marie Josee Ta Lou who won the heat in 7.17sec.

Ta Lou, world outdoor 100m and 200m silver medallist behind Thompson, has come in as one of the big favourites for the 60m title following victories in Torun and Glasgow.

"I'm happy, it's first heat so I've qualified for the semi-finals and am now focused for this afternoon. I hope to do my personal best," the Ivorian said.

American Javianne Oliver, who leads the world rankings with 7.02sec, finished in the third automatic position behind her heat winner Ezinne Okparaebo of Norway and Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago.

"I had a shaky start," said Oliver. "I'm learning and I'm just glad to have got through to the next round."

European hopes were advanced by Germany's Tatjana Pinto and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, the two-time world outdoor 200m champion who won an indoor silver medal in Portland in 2016.

Schippers clocked 7.19sec to finish ahead of South African Carina Horn in her heat, while Pinto went one-hundredth faster in hers.

The fastest time was set by France's Carolle Zahi, in 7.11sec, followed by Ta Lou's Ivorian teammate Murielle Ahoure.

The women will be back on track for semi-finals at 6:50 pm (1850 GMT), with the final scheduled almost three hours later.

There was a shock in the men's 400m, however, as all runners in the third heat of six, including two top favourites, were disqualified.

That heat didn't start well when world indoor silver medallist and outdoor bronze medallist Abdalleleh Haroun of Qatar was sent packing after standing up from his blocks.

When the race eventually started, Grenada's Taplin came through as winner, confirming the form that has seen him set the fifth fastest indoor time of all time when he clocked 44.88sec in College Station last month.

But the Grenadan, who said he was seeking redemption in Birmingham after finishing fourth in Portland, and three other heat runners were then disqualified after all committed lane infringements.

As well as the women's 60m, Friday's evening session sees finals in the men's long jump and women's shot put, while the heptathlon also draws to a close.