ROME (Reuters) - World and Olympic 100 meters champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s problems continued at the Rome Diamond League meeting on Thursday when the Jamaican was again upstaged by long jump specialist Tori Bowie.
Fraser-Pryce won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at last year’s world championships in Moscow but her start to the outdoor season has been dogged by a persistent leg injury and she showed no spark in beating home just one of the nine-strong field at the Olympic stadium.
After winning her season-opener in Doha last month, she then pulled out of the Shanghai meeting and finished a disappointing eighth behind American Bowie over 200m in Eugene last weekend.
Bowie, 23, again showed the sprinters how it is done by taking another surprise victory in a personal best 11.05, ahead of Jamaicans Kerron Stewart (11.08) and Simone Facey (11.13).
Unlike Fraser-Pryce, American Justin Gatlin has had no such problems in hitting his stride and clocked 9.91 to win the men’s 100, ahead of Jamaica’s Nesta Carter (10.02) and Briton Adam Gemili (10.07)
Former Olympic champion Gatlin, who powered out of the blocks and quickly had the race at his mercy, has run the three quickest times in the world this year.
In the night’s tightest finish, world 100m hurdles champion Brianna Rollins just got the better of compatriot Dawn Harper-Nelson with just one hundredth of a second separating the pair.
Rollins looked to have the race in control but Harper-Nelson surged late to force a photo finish, with the younger American taking victory in a world-leading 12.53. Queen Harrison was third for a U.S. 1-2-3.
The much anticipated re-match between Rollins and Olympic champion Sally Pearson did not materialize after the Australian, second behind the American in Moscow, pulled out of the meeting earlier in the day.
Pearson said she would have risked suffering an injury by competing and pulled out as “a precaution”.
“I am not injured but if I ran I either would’ve torn my hamstring or ran well off my best - either way was not an option for me,” she tweeted.
Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat surged late to reel in Djibouti’s 2014 world indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman to win the men’s 1500m in 3:30.44.
Souleiman had clocked the fastest time for a mile race on U.S. soil when winning in Eugene but could not hang on down the straight and was overhauled by Kiplagat in the final 40 meters.
Kenya’s double world champion Asbel Kiprop could not mount a challenge and clung on for third.
There was more Kenyan success with Eunice Sum continuing to show that her surprise world 800m title was no flash in the pan by taking the two-lap victory in 1:59.49, following up her win in Doha last month.
World 400m champion LaShawn Merritt was not extended in breezing to victory in 44.48, while Jamaican Kaliese Spencer clocked the fastest 400m hurdles time of the year with a 53.97 win.
After a terrific indoor season, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba dominated a strong field to land the women’s 5000 in 14:34.99, pulling clear of compatriot Almaz Ayana (14:37.16).
Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim won the men’s high jump, equaling the best leap in the world this year with a 2.41m clearance.
Writing by Justin Palmer, editing by Alan Baldwin