Ryan Crouser vs. Joe Kovacs, Doha 2019 DL Presser, photo by Jiro Mochizuki, for IAAF Diamond League (copyrigh 2019 by Jiro Mochizuki)
Tina Bartoletta involved in deep thought, Doha 2019 DL Presser, photo by Jiro Mochizuki, for IAAF Diamond League (copyright 2019 by Jiro Mochizuki)
Sam Kendricks, Doha 2019 DL Presser, photo by Jiro Mochizuki, for IAAF Diamond League (copyright 2019 by Jiro Mochizuki)
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Semenya 800 late addition, series of World leads in distance races expected
DOHA (QAT): The 10th jubilee season of IAAF Diamond League starts as usual in Qatar, but unusual in the bigger Khalifa Stadium, site of World Championships. The most expected race is the women 800 m where three women will have most probably their last races in current settings headed by Caster Semenya. In middle distances first top races of the season will be staged, so World leads are clearly expected. MenÂ´s shot put should be another highlight. It is also start of the DL circuit for last time in current format, for 2020 changes are expected and confirmed.
Event by event previews
200m: The line-up features six athletes with sub-20 lifetime bests including world and European champion Ramil Guliyev from Turkey and world bronze medallist Jereem Richards from Trinidad & Tobago.
800m: Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir, who was unbeaten on the Diamond League circuit last year, makes his season’s debut. He faces a line-up including teammate Wycliffe Kinyamal and Jonathan Kitilit and world indoor champion Adam Kszczot from Poland. Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who beat Korir for the African title, and in-form Donavan Brazier from the United States are also in the high class line-up. WL 1:44.33 should go. Som goes 50.5 split.
1500m: Another head-to-head between training partners Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot looks set to play out. Also watch out for Ronald Kwemoi who returns from injury. WL no problem. Expected target 1:53 800, 2:49 1200.
3000m steeplechase: Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali should take advantage of the late withdrawal of Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto. Of course a WL.
Pole vault: World champion Sam Kendricks (hoping for WL, MR 582 should go) faces a line-up which includes world silver medallist Piotr Lisek from Poland and Olympic champion Thiago Braz from Brazil.
Shot put: Could Ryan Crouser challenge Tom Walsh’s Diamond League record of 22.60m? He opened his outdoor season with a lifetime best of 22.74m last month. Walsh also competes, as does European champion Michal Haratyk from Poland and former world champion Joe Kovacs from the United States. MR 22.28 could happen.
Discus: Line-up features world silver and bronze medallists Daniel Stahl and Mason Finley plus reigning Olympic champion Christoph Harting from Germany. Norway’s Ole Stunes Isene takes on the world’s best after an early season world-leading 67.78m.
200m: Triple European champion Dina Asher-Smith makes her season’s debut. She will face a line-up including world 400m champion Phyllis Francis and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare. WL that means better than 22.53 should be possible.
800m: Caster Semenya is a late entrant in what might be her last race before she could have to reduce her testosterone levels if she wishes to compete in her specialist event. Olympic silver and bronze medallists Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui both make their season’s debuts while Ajee’ Wilson also competes. Pace at 56.5, will be fast and farewell. SemenyaÂ´s MR is 1:56.61 from 2017.
3000m: World cross country champion Hellen Obiri, who ran an African record of 8:20.68 in this race in 2014, highlights the finale of the programme. Other standout entrants include multiple world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia, world 3000m steeplechase record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech and last year’s winner Caroline Kipkirui. Another superb WL expected.
100m hurdles: Olympic champion Brianna McNeal makes her season’s debut in her specialist event after a 11.31 100m PB. WL should be realistic.
400m hurdles: Jamaica’s Janieve Russell and Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad from the United States look set to renew their rivalry. Australia’s Lauren Wells also competes after an early season 54.87 PB.
High jump: Olympic and European silver medallist Mirela Demireva from Bulgaria is among the top names in action with Mariya Lasitskene absent. The line-up also features former European indoor champion Airine Palsyte from Lithuania and reigning world and European U18 champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh from Ukraine. Ready to improve 197 WL?
Long jump: Olympic champions Tianna Bartoletta and Caterine Ibarguen both compete. The athlete with the best mark this year is Australia’s Naa Anang with 6.81m. Will somebody go over 7 m?