For the first time in 4 years, I visited Doha, Qatar. I love this meeting.
The traditional start of the elite Diamond League season, Doha has come back quite strong post-pandemic.
I was lucky enough to visit the 2023 Diamond League Meeting on May 5. 2023.
A month later, as we start to get into high gear about the Diamond League, I wanted to put down my conclusions about the major Doha meeting.
- The Diamond League is back. After three years of managing the pandemic, COVID travel restrictions, keeping athletes safe, and little or no fans, the DL is back. A strong level of competition in all events, even at the very beginning of the season, showed that Doha, as the opener of the elite global season, is back at full strength.
- Best crowd EVER in Doha. This writer has been to Doha meetings from 2011 to 2018. We would get an adequate crowd each year, but not like in 2023. In fact, the police had to turn back 4000 fans who wanted to see the meeting!
- Fred Kerley continued to show his stuff in 2023. Fred Kerley, the World Champion at 100 meters, is becoming a huge star. His wins over 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters. Fred did a good interview in Doha, as he has done at each and every meeting in 2023. Fred Kerley’s 200-meter win was great television in Doha, as he just flew by the field with 30 meters to go.
- Sha’Carrie Richardson is a global phenomenon. Sha’ Carri is a huge draw around the world. Her win in Doha was devastatingly effective. My observation is that Sha’Carri loves the crowd, and the crowd loves Sha’Carrie.
- Media presence was down in Doha. The Gulf States media do a wonderful job in Doha. However, I was the only journalist from North America; Stuart Weir was one of two UK and European writers. In the past, I would see several from Agence France, Euronews, German and Italian newspapers, etc. Remote coverage can be quite effective, but WA and Diamond League should look at this with some concern.