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Blake blasts back with 100m Diamond League win, eyes world champs

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Blake blasts back with 100m Diamond League win, eyes world champs
Athletics - Diamond League - Birmingham Grand Prix - Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, Britain - August 18, 2019 Jamaica's Yohan Blake wins the men's 100 Metres final Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff   -   Copyright  JASON CAIRNDUFF(Reuters)
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BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Former world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica edged Britain’s Adam Gemili in a photo-finish to win the 100 metres at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting on Sunday.

Both sprinters were given the same time of 10.07 seconds, with Blake declared the winner.

“It was coming,” said Blake, the 2011 world champion who last won an individual global medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

The 29-year-old, who has been overshadowed by Americans Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin and Noah Lyles in recent years, was aided by a 2.0 metres per second wind, just under the allowable.

“The weather wasn’t great but I’m saving the big day for the world championships and the Diamond League finals in Zurich,” said Blake. “I can run faster.”

Coleman had withdrawn from the race earlier in the week and Canadian triple Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse was a disappointing fifth in 10.13.

Olympic 400 metres gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won her 11th consecutive 200 metres, turning back British European champion Dina Asher-Smith and Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Miller-Uibo, who has not lost at the distance since 2017, pulled away from Asher-Smith with 70 metres to go and won in 22.24 seconds. Asher-Smith clocked 22.36 and Fraser-Pryce 22.50.

“The race didn’t go to plan,” said Miller-Uibo. “My start was just horrible and had to rely on that 400m speed to get through.”

Olympic champions Nafissatou Thiam, Ekaterini Stefanidi and Omar McLeod also were winners on a day when swirling winds affected many performances.

Thiam twice broke the Belgian long jump record, leaping 6.86 metres on her third attempt to show she will be ready to defend her world heptathlon title in Doha in October.

“It gives me confidence,” said Thiam. “It’s almost 20cm more than my PB (personal best).”

Serbian world indoor champion Ivana Spanovic was second, a mere centimetre behind, and British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson took third at the same distance after fouling on her first two attempts.

Greece’s Stefanidi claimed the pole vault with a third attempt clearance at 4.75 metres and Jamaican McLeod dominated the 110 metres hurdles, winning in 13.21 seconds.

Compatriot Danielle Williams, the year’s fastest in the 100 metres hurdles, easily defeated U.S. world record holder Keni Harrison, claiming victory in 12.46 seconds.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; editing by Tony Lawrence)

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