May 10 - The 2013 IAAF Diamond League got off to a flying start on a warm and balmy night here with a sequence of 11 world-leading performances, highlighted by a characteristically graceful victory by Kenya's Olympic and world 800 metres champion David Rudisha.
The search for a new title sponsor to fill the gap Samsung have left continues, but on this evidence reserves of athletic talent remain rich.
But when Olympic champions are setting personal bests - as America's Brittney Reese did with 7.25 metres in the women's long jump - you know you are watching the real thing.
Apart from Rudisha and Reese, the Doha world-leaders club numbered Croatia's Sandra Perkovic in the discus, American Ryan Whiting in the shot put, Greece's Konstantinos Filippidis in the pole vault, Sweden's Abebe Aregawi in the 1500m, America's Dawn Harper-Nelson in the 100m hurdles, Kenya's Lidya Chepkurui in the 3,000m steeplechase, Botswana's Amantle Montsho in the 400m, Kenya's Asbel Kiprop in the 1500m and Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet in the 3,000m.
Rudisha, in his first appearance of a season in which he hopes to retain his world title, floated over the line behind a line of gritted teeth in 1min 43.87sec, well clear of the 19-year-old Ethiopian Mohammed Aman who has been the only runner to beat him in the last couple of years.
"I feel good and I ran OK," said Rudisha.
"It's always nice running here in Doha and tonight the crowd was just fantastic.
"I like that the kids cheered me."
"It's a world lead, but I can do better for sure." Aman commented:
"I did not want to stay behind Rudisha.
"I try to pass him but I could not."
Not something to beat yourself up about, Mohammed...
Spectators here at the Qatar Sports Club saw something new - Allyson Felix losing on this track.
After 10 consecutive victories in Doha, America's Olympic 200m champion, racing over her less fancied distance of 400m, was beaten at the last by the strength of Botswana's world champion Montsho, who clocked 49.88sec with the American timed at 50.19.
Britain's Olympic silver medallist from London 2012, Christine Ohuruogu, ran a characteristically solid race, finishing strongly to take third place in 50.53.
A terrific race over the metric mile ensured that the women's 1500m was the fourth event of the night to be won in a world-leading performance as Sweden's adopted Ethiopian Aregawi was pushed to the formidable limits of her powers to cross the line ahead in 3:56.60, just 0.06 outside her personal best.
Olympic and European discus champion Perkovic produced five throws, all of which were further than her opponents could manage, the best being 68.23m, and Whiting beat his personal best of 21.97m twice, with the furthest effort being a huge 22.28.
Jamaica's double Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who has talked uncertainly this week about how she is coming to terms with running the 200 metres, offered clear evidence that the new challenge is being capably met as she finished a metre clear of her compatriot Sherone Simpson in a time of 22.48. She is shaping up as a likely challenger to Felix in Moscow.
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