Christian Coleman blazes to fastest 100 time | July 5, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 5, 2019

Christian Coleman blazes to fastest 100 time

New world bests achieved in men's mile and two mile

by Glenn Reeves

USA's Christian Coleman lowered his world lead in winning the men's 100-meter race in 9.81 at Sunday's Prefontaine Track and Field Classic as part of the IAAF Diamond League at Stanford's Cobb Track and Angell Field, which drew a sellout crowd of 8,128, the largest crowd at Stanford since 1962.

"I just try to go out and compete and try to come out with a win, but, obviously, guys are steadily getting better and better and always running faster," Coleman said. "It's going take some pretty good training to get a gold medal at the end of the year."

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei in the men's two mile and Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot in the men's mile also took over the world lead while two Diamond League records and four meet records were also set on a thoroughly satisfying afternoon involving the world's top athletes.

"It was amazing," Cheptegei said of his 8:07.54. "It was really a big atmosphere ... the fans were yelling. They were like, 'Woah, woah!' And it got me a little motivation to win the race."

Paul Chelimo, born in Kenya but competing as an American, was second in 8:07.59.

In all, 13 facility records (of 19 events) were established at Stanford as well as dozens of personal and season bests, which made the meet one of the top track and field events ever contested on Stanford's campus.

Coleman held off Justin Gatlin, who finished in 9.87, in a race between Tennessee runners (Gatlin is 14 years older than Coleman). Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes, who has trained with Usain Bolt, was third in 9.97.

"It's always good to run on home soil," Coleman said. "The crowd was hype."

Stanford has played host to important meets throughout its history, including the 1941 NCAA Championships, the 1932 and 1960 Olympic Trials, and the epic 1962 USA-USSR dual that has been described as "the greatest track meet of all time."

But there never has been a meet at Stanford with the quality of Sunday's Prefontaine Classic. The oldest facility record surpassed was that of Jeff Fishback's 9:06.8 two-mile from the Pacific Association AAU meet of 1962, which was erased by 59 seconds.

Other top marks included Sweden's Armand Duplantis' 19-5 1/2 in the pole vault, Brazil's Darlan Romani's 74-7 1/4 and Ukraine's Yuliya Levchenko's 6-8 1/2 in the women's high jump. Those marks exceeded any Jenner Classic meet or U.S. national championship, which were held at Stanford in 2002 and 2003.

The women's 100 meters was just as entertaining as Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou defended her title from last season with a time of 11.02, the fastest Diamond League mark of the season.

LSU's Aleia Hobbs was second on 11.04, followed by Texas' Teahna Daniels (11.13) and 19-year-old Sha'Carri Richardson (11.15) in her professional debut.

"The race felt good. I noticed some tweaks I could make, even throughout the race," Richardson said. "It wasn't my best race, but I know it was an OK race for it to be my first pro race, but I just noticed some areas of improvement and will only get better."

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