Flop show for top guns in Qatar

DOHA: Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny and featured runners Saif Said Shaheen of Qatar and Kelli White of the United States failed to win in a flop show for stars at the IAAF Super Grand Prix on Friday. 

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Zelezny finished a poor fourth as Boris Henry of Germany won the javelin gold with a throw of 82.06m. The silver medal went to Stefan Wenk of Germany with 79.13m, and the bronze to American Breaux Greer at 79.03m. 

A STROLL IN THE PARK: American Dominique Arnold walks off the track afterwinning the men’s 110m hurdles gold at the IAAF Super Grand Prix in Qataron Friday. – APpic

Qatar’s Shaheen, a Kenyan athlete who took Qatari citizenship in 2003, finished second in the men’s 3,000m, his debut race in his new capital. He was beaten by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya with the year’s best time of 7:33.37. In third place was Kenyan John Kibowen, who clocked 7:37:23. 

“I am extremely happy with my performance today,” Kipchoge told The Associated Press. “I was under a bit of pressure to start with but I told myself not to panic and then I settled into the race nicely. I hope I can carry my good form right until the Olympics. 

“I am greatly delighted to have beaten Shaheen, who is a great runner,” Kipchoge added. “I beat him in Qatar, his country.” 

Last August, Shaheen won the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the World Championships, but on Friday he remained in second place for most of the race. He became eligible to compete for Qatar in early 2003 after being offered citizenship by the tiny oil-rich Gulf state. 

Another disappointed athlete was White, a double sprint champion (100m and 200m) from last year’s worlds. White finished a dismal sixth in the women’s 200m, which was easily won by LaTasha Colander-Richardson of the United States in 22.50. 

Second was American Chryste Gaines in 23.28, and third went to Ionela Tirlea of Romania at 23.32. 

Shaun Crawford led an American 1-2-3 finish in the men’s 100m with a wind-aided time of 9.86. The silver medal went to Justin Gatlin in 9.95 while the bronze was snatched by Marcus Branson at 9.96. 

“These days I try to focus on one race at a time,” Crawford said. “I am very happy with the time I registered today. I have been here for the last four days and that helped me to get acclimatised. I must admit I have never raced in sandstorms before and it was quite dusty and windy today.” 

Indian track and field star Anju Bobby George eased her way to a long jump gold medal. George, who clinched a bronze medal at last year’s worlds in Paris, won with a jump of 6.82m. Valentina Gotovska of Latvia was second with 6.70m, and Malgorzata Trybanska of Germany third on 6.57m. – AP 

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