By Sports Reporter/Doha
A clash between world champions Almaz Ayana and Vivian Cheruiyot is expected to be among the chief highlights on the women’s programme at the IDL Doha 2016 meeting, the opening competition of the 14-meeting IAAF Diamond League series, this Friday (May 6).
Ayana, who raced to 5,000m gold at last year’s World Championships in Beijing, and Cheruiyot, the 10,000m victor, will face off in the 3,000m, traditionally one of the strongest events at the Doha competition which kicks off the series of the world’s finest one-day track and field competitions for the seventh consecutive year.
Cheruiyot’s triumph in Beijing was the fifth at a World Championships for the 32-year-old Kenyan whose previous season-long consistency on the track was rewarded with Diamond Race Trophies in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Meanwhile, Ayana, 24, is the Ethiopian national record holder in the 3000m, her 8:22.20 set last season ranking her 11th fastest of all time. The pair is among six current world champions who will be making their 2016 international debuts at the Qatar Sports Club.
Another is Dafne Schippers, who won the world 200m title last summer with a sterling 21.63 run, a performance that elevated the 23-year-old Dutchwoman all the way up to the No 3 position all time.
Schippers also took silver in the 100m in Beijing, the event which she’ll be headlining in Doha. She’s already off to a fast start, having clocked 22.25 for 200m in Gainesville on April 22, the fastest in the world this season so far.
She’ll face Tori Bowie of the US, the 2015 world bronze medallist and Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown, whose long list of accolades include back-to-back Olympic 200m titles in 2004 and 2008.
In the 400m hurdles, two-time world champion Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, who also struck Olympic bronze four years ago, will face Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain, this year’s surprise world indoor 400m champion.
The triple jump features another battle of global champions, Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan, the 2012 Olympic champion, and Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia, the 2013 and 2015 world champion, who has dominated the event the past three seasons.
No stranger to Doha, Rypakova is unbeaten in seven indoor and outdoor competitions in the Qatari capital dating back to 2008.
Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela, the surprise winner at the World Indoor Championships, is also in the field.
German Katharina Molitor, the world champion in the javelin throw, headlines her event as she targets her first career victory in Diamond League series action.
She’ll face African record holder (69.35m) Sunette Viljoen of South Africa, the bronze medallist at the past two world championships, and Lu Huihui of China, the silver medallist from last year’s world championships.
The 800m features a clash between 2013 world champion Eunice Sum of Kenya, a three-time Diamond Race series winner, and Caster Semenya, the 2009 world champion who recently notched an impressive 400m/800m/1500m triple victory at the South African Championships.
Elsewhere on the infield, Sandi Morris of the US leads the field in the pole vault. The 23-year-old, who finished second at the World Indoor Championships in March, is unbeaten in four competitions outdoors this spring and leads the world with a 4.81m leap.
She’ll face a solid Greek 1-2 punch with Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou, the bronze medallist at last year’s World Championships and 2015 Diamond Race winner, and her teammate Katerina Stefanidi (4.71m PB), who took World Indoor Championships bronze. Kiriakopoulou, who has a best of 4.83m, won in Doha two years ago.
And in the women’s shot put, Michelle Carter of the US, who arrives in the Qatari capital on the heels of her gold medal showing at the World Indoor Championships, is the class of the field. Her main challenge is expected from Anita Marton of Hungary, who took silver behind Carter in Portland.
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