Asher-Smith defeats Thompson to post year's best 200m time

Stockholm (AFP) –


Dina Asher-Smith underlined her world title ambitions on Thursday by posting the year's fastest time as she cruised to victory in the 200 metres at the Stockholm Diamond League.

The British sprinter pulled away from 2016 double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson to finish in 22.18 sec, with the Jamaican trailing in her wake with 22.66 and former world champion Dafne Schippers way back in third in 22.78.

In blustery and cool conditions in the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, 23-year-old Asher-Smith gained her second Diamond League win of the season in comfortable style, showing she is in the mood at the start of a long season that ends with the world championships in Doha in September and October.

"I'm in good shape right now, but I want to get faster, keep working. The world championships are going to be a completely different picture," Asher-Smith said.

Earlier, American Ajee Wilson took the 800m in the absence of Caster Semenya, who could not compete in the event due to new rules that would force her and other hyperandrogenic athletes to take medication to lower their testosterone levels.

A bronze medallist at the 2017 worlds, Wilson crossed the line in 2 min 00.87 sec, beating Ethiopia's Habitam Alemu (2:01.26) and Kenya's Nelly Jepkosgei (2:01.98) in the first Diamond League 800m since the controversial rules came into effect.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules, which Semenya is appealing in Switzerland after losing her first appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, also led to the enforced absence of Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui of Kenya, the silver and bronze medallists behind Semenya at the Rio Olympics.

US one-lap sensation Michael Norman won the 400m in 44.53sec, a second slower than his fastest time in the world this year.

Kenya's Agnes Jebet Tirop also set a year's fastest time as she claimed victory in the women's 5,000m in 14min 50.82sec, while Timothy Cheruiyot saw off Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen, double gold medallist at last year's European Championships, in the 1,500m with a time of 3:35.79.

In the field, Cuban long jumper Juan Miguel Echevarria, the 20-year-old tipped as a future world record holder, had a disappointing competition and managed just 8.12 metres to the delight of the home crowd who saw Sweden's Thobias Montler win with a leap of 8.22m.