Both LaShawn Merritt and Tori Bowie shined bright at the Doha Diamond League in Qatar this weekend.
LaShawn was solid as expected, taking the 400m crown by nearly three-tenths of a second, while Tori walked away with one of the biggest victories of the competition, beating one of the world’s best sprinters to grab the 100m title.
“It’s a blessing to be able to come out here and just be competitive with these athletes,” Tori said. “To me, everybody’s so amazing, especially Schippers. Today, my plan was just to execute my race in my lane, no matter what else happens. I feel like there’s a lot left in the tank, and I have to be thankful for the results today.”
With a time of 10.80 seconds, TB tied her personal best, smashed the previous meet record and claimed the world lead in one fell swoop. She edged Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers by 0.03 seconds. Schippers won the IAAF World Championship in the 200m and placed second in the 100m in 2015.
“I gave the race in Doha my everything and the win was mine. This being an Olympic year, I’m eagerly looking ahead at the outdoor season. I feel I’m a much better runner now than I was last season. My coach has played a huge role in helping me execute my races better,” she said after the triumph.
Tori ran a brilliant race from the sixth lane, right next to her counterpart from the Netherlands. It was all about the start for the Mississippi native, who jumped past Schippers off the blocks. Schippers kept the pressure on the entire way, but Tori powered through, keeping herself ahead by a hair in a performance that will surely put a smile on the face of her coach, and could put her in the gold medal conversation in Rio.
“I just take it one race at a time,” TB said. “My coach and my strategy is just to learn something from each race—not to win each race, but to go back and learn something from each race so we can fix it and continue to improve. I think he’ll be very pleased with the way I ran my race today, though.”
LaShawn also came away from his win focused on improvement. His start was terrific out of lane five as he pushed past the competition and quickly into the lead. He never relinquished the lead as he rode long strides to victory at 44.41 seconds. He left Qatar knowing he’s capable of more but happily took the win.
“It was alright. I won. I executed a little bit. It could have been a lot better, but it’s a work in progress,” he said. “I didn’t finish like I wanted to. I have work to do, but it’s still early. All I do is train, I’m building my confidence and will keep on working hard. I am focusing on my training for the US Trials in early July.”
LaShawn also gave a shoutout to those in Doha before he departed. His next destination: Guadeloupe for the May 14 International Athletics Meeting.
“I love it here,” LaShawn said of Doha. “The weather’s cool, the crowd is always amazing, and I love the people.”
Tori will showcase her skills once again this weekend at the adidas Boost Athletics Meet in Herzogenaurach, Germany, where she’ll be joined by fellow Icon athletes Octavious Freeman and Gerald Phiri. Meanwhile, Doreen Amata will jump at the Shanghai Diamond League.