Australians Peter Bol and Jess Hull fly at Diamond League international athletics meet in Qatar

Peter Bol and Jess Hull are smiling but Stewart McSweyn can only grimace following Australia’s middle-distance luminaries suffering dramatically contrasting fortunes in Doha’s season-opening Diamond League meet.

Key points:

Peter Bol finished only half a second behind winner Noah Kibet in the 800m eventNational record-holder Jessica Hull finished third in the 3,000m event for the first timeStewart McSweyn suffered a glute injury in the 1,500m

On a wild and windy Friday night in the Qatar capital, Olympic finalist Bol delivered the stand-out Australian performance in a “crazy” race, excited to earn his first-ever runners-up finish in a Diamond League 800 metres.

Jess Hull was also celebrating after earning a top-three position in a high-quality 3,000 metres.

But for middle-distance master McSweyn, who has had a torrid time after struggling with long COVID, it proved a wretched high-profile return. He suffered a strained glute after the first 100 metres of his 1,500m and struggled on to traipse home the last of the 11 finishers.

Bol, fourth at last year’s Olympics, signalled he would again be a force to be reckoned with in a world championship year as he delivered a powerful late kick in the two-lap event.

The 28-year-old Khartoum-born star proved the fastest finisher after a cagey race, roaring past Canadian Marco Arop and Briton Dan Rowden to finish second in 1 minute, 49.35 seconds.

But the field was caught napping by Kenya’s exceptional teenage world indoor silver medallist Noah Kibet, who took off on the final bend and maintained his form to win comfortably in 1:49.08.

Bol (far left) was just beaten by Kenyan teen sensation Noah Kibet (right).(Getty Images: Francois Nel)

“Today was a bit of a crazy race with the wind!” Bol said.

“But I’m really happy with how it worked out. The time doesn’t really matter to me, but what does matter is that it’s my first placing in a Diamond League.

“I hope [there are] a few more to come. I’m really happy with it.”

National record holder Hull also enjoyed her best Diamond League outing, coming third in the 3,000m ahead of Turkey’s Yasemin Can and Ethiopian Girmawit Gebrzihair in 8:40.97.

But way up ahead, there was a tremendous duel between two runaway leaders, with former Olympic 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba, of Burundi setting a world-leading 8:37.70 while pipping Kenyan Olympic 1,500m champ Faith Kipyegon (8:38.05).

“Going forward, my plan is to focus on the 1,500 this season, but I believe this is a good start,” Hull said.

A blonde woman wearing yellow raises her arms in the air Hull (left) reached the final of the 1500m at the Tokyo Olympics.(Getty Images: Ryan Pierse)

McSweyn’s trouble struck early in the metric mile as he struggled to the line in a woeful 3:48.67. It was left to Matt Ramsden to fly the Australian flag in sixth (3:38.83), as Kenya’s Abel Kipsang raced to victory.

On a night when the men’s pole vault was cancelled after a handful of attempts because high winds made it too dangerous, the usually excellent Australian Brandon Starc could not even clear his gentle opening 2.16m in the high jump.

The international highlight of the night was Noah Lyles holding off strong-finishing US compatriot Fred Kerley to win the 200m in a wind-assisted 19.72 seconds. Olympic champ Andre de Grasse was fourth.

The men’s javelin throwers enjoyed the wind at their backs too, with Grenada’s 2019 Doha world champion Anderson Peters landing a 93.07m monster, making him the fifth-longest thrower since the javelin weight was changed.

The shock of the evening was Bahamian double Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo finishing third in the 400m as Tokyo silver medallist Marileidy Paulino, of the Dominican Republic, won in 51.20sec.


Posted 10h ago10 hours agoFri 13 May 2022 at 9:26pm, updated 9h ago9 hours agoFri 13 May 2022 at 10:04pm

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Krzysztof Stanowicz

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