The Seashore Group Doha Meeting, a key event in the Wanda Diamond League, witnessed spectacular performances by Alison dos Santos and Kenny Bednarek, who shattered meeting records in a thrilling display of athletic prowess on Friday (10).

Alison dos Santos’ Triumphant Return

For Brazilian hurdler Alison dos Santos, this event marked a crucial comeback at the onset of an Olympic season. Dos Santos had previously set the Doha meeting record of 47.24 two years ago, a season that culminated in him winning the world title with a championship record of 46.29. However, an injury at the end of that year sidelined him, necessitating extensive rehabilitation throughout the off-season and the first half of 2023. Although he managed a season’s best of 47.38 and a fifth-place finish at the World Championships in Budapest, he was clearly not at his peak.

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In Doha, dos Santos showcased a return to form. Positioned in lane five, he leveraged the fast start of CJ Allen in the adjacent lane to gain an early advantage. As they rounded the final bend, dos Santos surged past Allen and extended his lead, finishing with a remarkable time of 46.86. This performance not only won him the race by a significant margin—over one-and-a-half seconds ahead of Allen (48.39)—but also marked his fastest season opener and the quickest 400m hurdles time ever recorded before June.

“This is a very good way to start things – I’m very excited,” said dos Santos. “It’s going to be a tough year, so to start in this fashion is very positive.”

Kenny Bednarek’s Record-Breaking Sprint

The winds, which had initially been a factor earlier in the evening, calmed slightly just before the men’s 200m event. American sprinter Kenny Bednarek, the 2022 world silver medallist, capitalized on these favorable conditions. Despite a strong start from compatriot Courtney Lindsey, Bednarek overtook him before the halfway mark. His powerful strides carried him to victory, crossing the finish line in a personal best of 19.67, thereby breaking Noah Lyles’ six-year-old meeting record by 0.15 seconds. Lindsey finished second in 20.01, with Kyree King completing the American sweep in third with 20.21.

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“I knew I was ready to run a world lead, I was just hoping that the wind would work with us,” said Bednarek. “Running fast this early in the season is a good sign. But times don’t matter – my main goal this year is to win the Olympic title.”

Other Highlights

The men’s long jump saw mixed fortunes due to variable wind conditions. Carey McLeod of Jamaica achieved a significant leap of 8.52m in the fourth round, the longest jump of his career under any conditions, but the 5.2m/s tailwind rendered it ineligible for personal best or meeting record status. Nevertheless, it secured him a morale-boosting win over world and Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, who posted a wind-legal season’s best of 8.36m in the final round. Swiss decathlete Simon Ehammer took third place with a wind-assisted 8.30m.

 

In the men’s discus, Slovenia’s 2022 world champion Kristjan Ceh found the conditions favorable. Despite trailing Australia’s Matt Denny, who opened with a throw of 69.02m, Ceh unleashed a throw of 70.48m in the fourth round, just shy of his own meeting record, to clinch the victory.

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The Seashore Group Doha Meeting provided an exciting glimpse into the potential performances of top athletes as the Olympic season unfolds. With dos Santos and Bednarek setting the pace with their record-breaking feats, the stage is set for a thrilling year in athletics.

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