As many as 27 Olympic and World medallists will take the stage at the Doha Diamond League this Friday at the Qatar Sports Club.
Men’s pole vault and 1500m, and the women’s 100m and 3000m are expected to be highlights in a high-quality programme.
In the men’s pole vault, world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden — World Championships silver medallist in Doha 2019 — will again be the one to watch.
Having set an outright world record of 6.18m at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Glasgow in February, he is now officially the best vaulter in history following his incredible 6.15m clearance at the Wanda Rome Diamond League on September 17. His outdoor best exceeds Sergey Bubka’s previous record of 6.14m which stood for a remarkable 26 years.
Duplantis will be joined in Doha by reigning world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States, in addition to London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Renaud Lavillenie of France.
The men’s 1500m includes Olympic and world 3000mSC champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya, 5000m world silver medallist, Selemon Barega, and 3000mSC world silver medallist, Lamecha Girma, and world 3000mSC bronze medallist Soufiane El Bakkali. While Barega and Girma are from Ethiopia, Bakkali is from Morocco.
Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and multiple World Championships medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Ivory Coast will go head-to-head in the women’s 100m.
Thompson-Herah’s 10.85 season’s best — set at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Rome — is the fastest time of the year to date.
Olympic silver medallist Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands) has withdrawn.
In the women’s 3000m, an exciting field brings together Kenyan quartet Hellen Obiri and Beatrice Chepkoech, 2019 world champions over 5000m and 3000mSC respectively, in addition to Olympic 3000mSC silver medallist Hyvin Kiyeng; world 5000m runner-up Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi; world 1500m bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia; and world 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Jebet Tirop of Kenya.
Obiri, Olympic 5000m silver medallist and 2019 World Cross Country champion, proved her recent good form with a world-leading 14:22.12 to win the 5000m at the Wanda Monaco Diamond League in August.
In total, six reigning world champions and three reigning Olympic champions will return to Doha for the Wanda Doha Diamond League.
In addition to those noted above, Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya, world 1500m champion, will race over 800m.
The 24-year-old, who has a best of 1:43.11 from August 2019, clocked an impressive 3:28.45 to win the 1500m in Monaco, just four one-hundredths of a second outside his lifetime best.
Mike Rodgers of the United States, 4x100m world relay gold medallist, will line up in the 100m.
Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, Olympic 1500m champion, will star in the women’s 800m. The 2017 world 1500m champion, runner-up in Doha 2019, set a national record of 2:29.15 for 1000m in Monaco, narrowly missing the world record for the rarely-run distance.
“In spite of incredibly challenging circumstances, I’m proud of the fantastic fields we’ve put together for this event,” says Khalid al-Marri, Wanda Doha Diamond League Meeting Director.
“It’s been a tough summer for everyone, yet we’ve witnessed some exceptional track and field performances. I’m confident that in Doha, the fourth and final competitive meeting of this shortened 2020 Wanda Diamond League series, that we’ll provide a fitting finale.”
Doha Diamond League exceptional: Qatar Athletics Federation president
Doha Diamond League will be the first global tournament the Qatari capital will host during the coronavirus crisis with the participation of many World and Olympic champions at the Qatar Sports Club next Friday. And HE the President of Qatar Athletics Federation Dr Thani bin Abdulrahman al-Kuwari has said it will be exceptional.
In press statements on Sunday evening, Dr al-Kuwari said: “Hosting the championship at this time represents a great challenge for us, but we are able to accomplish this difficult challenge through great co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health and the responsible and relevant authorities in the country, and through full compliance with local and international requirements and following the health protocol required to produce this version of the Diamond League in the best possible way.”
He noted that the challenge lies in how difficult it is to hold the championship in Qatar compared to the rest of the other rounds, because most of the tours were held in Europe and it was easy for the athletes in Europe to travel and move between the European countries, but it is not easy to move and travel to the Middle East at the present time and this was the big dilemma.
On the Qatari participation in the tournament, the President of Qatar Athletics Federation said that the Qatari participation will not be present in this tournament, adding that all players must be prepared to participate in the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
Al-Kuwari affirmed that everyone in the organising committee is at the top of readiness for all possibilities, and that everyone is committed to the requirements, and all the players are professional and abide by the health requirements, and they will leave Doha two days after arrival.
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