Canada’s Aaron Brown is carrying over last season’s Diamond League momentum.
The 30-year-old Toronto native placed third in the men’s 200 metres at the season-opening meet on Friday in Doha, Qatar, building off a second-place finish at the 2022 final in Zurich.
Brown crossed the line in 20.20 seconds behind a pair of Americans. Fred Kerley, the reigning 100m world champion, took top spot in 19.92 seconds, while Kenny Bednarek, who took earned silver at the 2022 worlds and 2021 Olympics, placed second once again in 20.11 seconds.
“The time wasn’t great, but third place is good,” said Brown, whose career-best in the distance is 19.95 seconds. “I executed the race well, but I did tie up at the end. Overall, it was a good night.”
WATCH | Brown 3rd in 200m:
Toronto sprinter Aaron Brown finished in third place in the men’s 200-metre race, in a time of 20.35 seconds, at the opening event of of the 2023 Diamond League season in Doha. The event was won by American Fred Kerley with a time of 19.92. Andre DeGrasse of Markham, Ont., was 6th in a time of 20.35.
Canadian Andre De Grasse, the reigning Olympic champion, was sixth at 20.35 seconds. The time continues a slow start for the 28-year-old of Markham, Ont., who placed seventh at a meet in Botswana last weekend. Brown finished second in the same race.
Kerley called Doha a “comfortable” race, but added there’s work still to do as the season ramps up.
“The most important was to win, and I did. I was happy with the competition, it was a good one. The guys gave me a fight,” he said.
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A marquee women’s 100m saw American Sha’Carri Richardson surge to victory in the final third of the race, setting a meet record of 10.76 seconds.
“I’m so blessed and thankful. I feel at peace. All I do is the best I do and I’m excited to do it,” said Richardson, who was suspended during the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for cannabis.
American Tori Bowie, the former world champion who died earlier this week at 32, previously held the meet record of 10.80 seconds, set in 2016.
Richardson, 23, outpaced reigning world 200m gold medallist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, who placed second at 10.85 seconds, and England’s Dina Asher-Smith, another former world champion who crossed in third place at 10.98 seconds.
“The whole point about my season is to race against the best, and I did that tonight,” Asher-Smith said. “I am really happy with my race, third place is a good start and the time is decent.”
WATCH | Richardson wins women’s 100m:
American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson won the women’s 100-metre race at the opening Diamond League track event in Doha, in a time of 10.76 seconds.
Alysha Newman, the 28-year-old from Delaware, Ont., placed eighth in women’s pole vault after failing to clear 4.55 metres.
In men’s high jump, Django Lovett of Surrey, B.C., missed each of his first three jumps at 2.15 metres and was eliminated in the first round of competition.
Lovett, 30, placed third in last year’s Diamond League final and owns a career-best jump of 2.33 metres.
Watch in-depth coverage and analysis of the event on CBC-TV, CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app or CBC Gem on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
The Diamond League season continues May 28 from Rabat, Morocco. Live coverage throughout the year will be available across CBC Sports platforms.
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Meanwhile, India’s Neeraj Chopra and Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, reigning Olympic champions in the men’s javelin and women’s 1,500,, began their Diamond League title defences with wins in their respective events.
Chopra set the tone for the competition with his very first attempt even though he showed disappointment with his throw, a world-leading 88.67 metres.
The Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who won silver in Tokyo, finished second again, just four centimetres shy of Chopra’s mark.
In the final event of the night, Kipyegon became the fifth athlete to set a world-leading mark when she finished the 1,500m in three minutes 58.57 seconds to beat the Ethiopian duo of Diribe Welteji, who finished less than a second behind, and Freweyni Hailu.