MONACO — American sprinter Justin Gatlin continued his fine form by clocking 9.78 to win the 100 meters at the Herculis Diamond League meet on Friday — and then warned his rivals that he can go even faster at the world championships next month with the right start.
Gatlin, undefeated in the 100 since 2013, comfortably beat countryman Tyson Gay and Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut on a hot night at Monaco's Stade Louis II stadium that saw a world record from Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba in the women's 1,500 meters.
Gay, who earlier teamed up with Gatlin as the American men won the 4x100 meter relay, clocked 9.97 and Vicaut was timed in 10.03.
The time was 0.04 outside Gatlin's world-leading season-best, but he is the man to beat at the world championships in Beijing next month as title holder Usain Bolt struggles with a leg injury.
"Makes me feel really good, to go out there and dominate such a stellar race today," Gatlin said. "The good thing is I have three weeks at home to get rest, make sure I have the best opportunity and (be) faster when I go to Beijing."
Gatlin was slightly slower than last week, however, when he clocked 9.75 at the Athletissima Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"Hopefully 9.7 is going to be my standard, (I'll) get some rest and run faster in Beijing. I can go home now, study all my races from this season, see where my flaws are and come out blazing in Beijing," Gatlin said. "Flaws? Yeah, definitely, in Lausanne my steps from the start weren't as good as my coach wanted."
But the performance of the night went to Dibaba, who clocked 3 minutes, 50.07 seconds to eclipse the long-standing mark of 3:50.46 set by China's Qu Yunxia in 1993.
The 24-year-old Dibaba crushed her own personal best of 3:54.11 — the leading time this year which she set last week at a meet in Barcelona.
"With the training I did in Barcelona, I knew I was going to break it," Dibaba said through a translator.
Several others, including Kenya's Asbel Kiprop in the men's 1,500, Bosnian Amel Tuka in the men's 800, American Bershawn Jackson in the men's 400 hurdles, American Francena McCorory and the women's 4x100 relay team set leading performances in the world this year.
The star-studded American men's relay team, also featuring Trayvon Bromell, easily won in 37.87, with Mike Rodgers well clear of Yazaldes Nascimento as Portugal clocked 39.05 to finish second. The French team was third in 39.64.
"We had some obstacles, first handover from my young teammate (Bromell) was not that good," Gatlin said.
Jackson, meanwhile, clocked 48.23 in the 400 hurdles, pulling away strongly to finish ahead of Poland's Patryk Dobek, who set a personal best of 48.62, and American countryman Johnny Dutch, who clocked 48.67.
Mo Farah, the Olympic champion in 5,000 and 10,000, finished fourth in the 1,500, gradually dropping off the pace as Kiprop posted the third fastest time ever in 3:26.69. Only Kenyan Bernard Lagat (3:26.34) and Moroccon Hicham El Guerrouj (3:26) have run faster.
"At the bell I saw 2:31-2:32 so I knew it could be a very fast time," Kiprop said. "I'm very satisfied but I wanted a bit faster time."
Farah was overtaken by Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi and Moroccan Abdelaati Iguider two turns from the end and finished in 3:28.93, shy of his personal best of 3:28.81.
Shortly after Kiprop's outstanding performance, Tuka thrilled the crowd, winning the 800 in 1:42.51 in a close-fought finish with Nijel Amos of Botswana — the Diamond League leader — who set a season's best 1:42.66.
Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku did likewise, getting the best time this year of 7:35.13 in the men's 3,000. Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew was second in 7:36.39.
Pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, world leader with 6.05 meters, won with an effort of 5.92.
Americans sealed a 1-2-3 in shot put, with Joe Kovacs winning with a personal best, Diamond League and Herculis meet record and world leading throw this year of 22.56 meters, putting him ahead of Christian Cantwell's 21.24 and Reese Hoffa's mark of 21.08.
"Everything was clicking today," Kovacs said.
In a shortened field of three teams, the American women took 1-2 in the 4x100 relay, with USA A beating USA B and Spain.
USA A, comprising of English Gardner, Allyson Felix, Jenna Prandini and Kaylin Whitney, clocked 41.96 seconds.
After McCorory improved on her world leading time of the year with a new mark of 49.83, Candyce McGrone clocked a personal best of 22.08 to win the women's 200.
She surged ahead of Dafne Schippers at the line, with the Dutchwoman timed in 22.09. American Jeneba Tarmoh was third in 22.23.
In the women's 100 hurdles, Sharika Nelvis won in 12.46 seconds to lead an American 1-2-3.
Croatia's Sandra Perkovic, the reigning European, World and Olympic champion, won the women's discus with a throw of 66.80.