Caster Semenya came back, saw and re-conquered at the Prefontaine Classic meeting held at the temporary venue of Stanford, California today as she won by almost three seconds in the women’s 800 metres at the seventh International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meetings of the season.
South Africa’s double Olympic and three-time world 800m champion was able to make her first Diamond League appearance since the season-opener in Doha after a Swiss Court extended its temporary suspension of the IAAF’s ruling that obliges athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) to take drugs to medically reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone if they want to compete at events ranging from 400 metres to a mile.
The "superprovisional order" was considered a major boost for Semenya in her challenge against a Court of Arbitration for Sport decision in the IAAF’s favour, and her lawyers are believed to have earned her an extension until tomorrow.
Semenya won in a meeting record of 1min 55.70sec - albeit that the meeting was not being held in its traditional venue of Hayward Field in Oregon because that venue is being extensively rebuilt ahead of the 2021 IAAF World Championships in Eugene.
Home runner Ajeé Wilson was second in a season’s best of 1:58.36.
Sifan Hassan, the Dutch European 5,000m champion, produced one of the highlights of an outstandingly rich meeting as she won the women’s 3,000m in a personal best, meeting and Diamond League record of 8:18.49 from Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who clocked a personal best of 8:20.07.
Ethiopia’s Rio 2016 10,000m champion and world record holder Almaz Ayana, due to make her first competitive outing since winning the world 10,000m title at London in 2017, did not take part, but her compatriots Letesenbet Gidey and world 1500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba finished third and fourth in personal bests of 8:20.27 and 8:21.29.
In the men’s 400 metres hurdles home runner Rai Benjamin won in a meeting record and 2019 world-leading time of 47.16sec, with double Diamond League champion Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands a distant second in 48.94.
Another highlight occurred in the men’s shot put where Brazil’s Darlan Romani earned a surprise win in a meeting and Diamond League record of 22.61 metres, pushing home thrower Ryan Crouser, the Rio 2016 champion, into second place despite an effort of 22.17m.
World champion Tom Walsh of New Zealand was third on 21.76m.
Kenya’s world record holder for the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, Beatrice Chepkoech, won in a meeting record and 2019 world-leading time of 8:55.58, with home world champion Emma Coburn a distant second in 9:04.90.
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare ran a season’s best of 22.05 to win the women’s 200m ahead of Rio 2016 100 and 200m champion Elaine Thompson, who clocked 22.21, and Britain’s European 100 and 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, third in 22.42.
The women’s 100 metres went to world silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, who clocked 11.02.
Michael Norman won the men’s 400m in 44.62, heading fellow American runners Kahmari Montgomery, second in 45.12, and Fred Kerley, third in 45.33.
Russian world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene, competing as an Authorised Neutral Athlete, won in a meeting record of 2.04m.
Christian Coleman, who took world 100m silver behind fellow American Justin Gatlin in 2017, reversed that result as he won in a 2019 world-leading time of 9.81, with his 37-year-old rival finishing second in 9.87.
Britain’s Zharnel Hughes was third in 9.97.
Kenya’s world 1500m silver medallist Timothy Cheruyiot won the Bowerman Mile in a 2019 world-leading time of 3:50.49, ahead of Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, who clocked 3:51.22.
Norwegian Ingebrigtsen brothers Filip, the 2016 European 1500m champion, and 18-year-old Jakob, who won the European 1500m and 5,000m titles in Berlin last season, were third and fourth in respective personal bests of 3:51.28 and 3:51.30.
Kenya’s Rio 2016 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon won over that distance in 3: 59.04, with Britain’s European indoor champion Laura Muir second in 3:59.47.
Sam Kendricks of the United States, the world pole vault champion, had to give best to the prodigious talent of 19-year-old European champion Armand "Mondo" Duplantis, who won with 5.93m.
Kendricks finished second on 5.88m.