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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin and Andre De Grasse all out-classed in the Diamond League

Akani Simbine of South Africa thundered home in first place in a time of 9.99 seconds.

Image: DPA/PA Images

Updated at 20.57

SOUTH AFRICA’S AKANI SIMBINE surprised a world-class sprint field, including Justin Gatlin, Asafa Powell and Andre De Grasse to claim a season-opening 100m Diamond League victory on Friday.

The 23-year-old powered home in a time of 9.99sec to become the first South African man to win a Diamond League 100m, and serve notice that the Blue Riband event could be more competitive than for some time with the impending international retirement of Usain Bolt.

“I’m happy with my shape now, just to come up here and set a motivation for the rest of the season is what I was hoping for,” said Simbine.

Jamaica’s Powell, a former world record holder, finished second in a time of 10.08secs, and Qatar’s Femi Ogunode was a place further back in 10.13.

Silver and bronze medallists in Rio, American Gatlin and Canada’s De Grasse, Bolt’s heir apparent, trailed in fourth and fifth.

Meanwhile, Caster Semenya continued her stunning form in the Rio Olympics, by claiming first place in the women’s 800m in a time of 1min 56.61secs, the fastest of the year so far.

“It’s very, very important to win,” she said.

“For us, the main thing is to keep on winning so we will be in the best for the World Championships.

“I didn’t know I could kick like that!”

Semenya beat Kenya’s Margaret Wambui, who claimed bronze behind the South African in Rio.

- © AFP 2017

Additional reporting by Sinead Farrell.

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