DOHA, May 15- David Rudisha’s impressive season continued on Friday night when he posted a season’s best 1:43.96 to win the 800m at the first leg of the IAAF Diamond league in Doha.
World champion Ezekiel Kemboi also laid down a season marker by clocking 8:06.28 in the 3000m steeplechase with Paul Kipsiele Koech (8:06.69) and Patrick Langat (8:09.12) completing a Kenyan podium sweep.
Olympic champion Nancy Langat held off a strong challenge from Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka to win the women’s 1500m in a time of 4:01.63.
Eliud Kipchoge and Vincent Kiprop masterminded a Kenya 1-2 in the men’s 5000m with Kipchoge winning the race in a time of 12:51.21.
The meet which was the first of the 14 leg league witnessed nine season-best performances.
Former world record holder Asafa Powell stormed to victory in the 100m in 9.81sec.
Helped by a favourable following wind of 2.3m/sec, Powell, the third fastest man in history and the world championship bronze medallist in 2009, finished ahead of Jamaican compatriot Nesta Carter who timed 9.88sec.
America’s Travis Padgett took third place in 9.92sec.
Powell, desperate to launch an assault on compatriot Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.58sec this year, had been even quicker in the heats, clocking 9.75sec, backed by a 2.6m/sec wind on a sweltering 30-degree night in the Qatari capital.
"I’m satisfied as it’s my first 100m of the season. Sadly, it was with the wind," said Powell.
"In any case, I have rarely started my season so well. For the world record, I’m going to take it step by step and if it happens, so much the better."
It wasn’t Powell’s most technically attractive race with the windy conditions compounded by sand swirling across the stadium.
"The starter was quick and I got away badly. I also wanted to work on two or three things. The first race in the evening was better, especially in terms of the start," added Powell.
The Jamaican had also crossed into the lane of the runner on his inside, an act which would have prompted a disqualification in a major championships.
The Diamond League awards points depending on performances throughout the 14-date programme with the winners of the 16 events taking home a diamond trophy worth around 10,000 dollars (8,000 euros) and a cheque for 40,000 dollars (31,000 euros).
The next round is in Shanghai on May 23 where Bolt will run in the 200m, four days after a 100m in Daegu.