World leader Sha’Carri Richardson and Briton favorite Dina Asher-Smith paced the qualifiers in the women’s 100 meters in breezy conditions at Sunday’s 2021 Wanda Diamond League opener in Gateshead.
Fighting off a very strong headwind of -4.2 m/s, Richardson took heat one comfortably with a time of 11.53 seconds to beat Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou who clocked 11.58 for second place, while Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica ran 11.62 in her first 100m race of the season for third place in the heat.
Meanwhile, Asher-Smith, who said in the build-up to the clash that she was ready to battle American Richardson, was smooth in the second heat when running 11.45 seconds, despite running into a very strong -4.4 m/s headwind.
Following the Great Britain star home were Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria who ran 11.71 for second place and Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte (11.88) for third.
Javianne Oliver (11.64) of the USA and Natasha Morrison (11.88) of Jamaica who were fourth and fifth, respectively in heat one, also advanced to the final on time.
Richardson leads the world with a blistering time of 10.72 seconds and has broken 10.80 seconds three times already this season.