The Doha Diamond League meeting was spectacular, and this is our first piece on the event. Stuart Weir wrote this before he passed out, Doha time past midnight, and I am posting in the Turkish Airlines lounge in Doha, en route to Istanbul and then Chicago. What a great way to open the season.
When you have World Champions and Olympic Champions in almost every event on a balmy night in Doha in front of an excellent crowd, what is there not to like about the Diamond League season opener in Qatar? There was a lot of criticism of the lack of spectators at the 2019 World Championships at the Khalifa Stadium, but moving the Diamond League back to the Qatar Sports Club was an inspired move. The smaller stadium was almost full, and the atmosphere was electric. Everyone in the stadium seemed Indian when Chopra was winning the javelin, but when Faith Kipyegon won 1500, there were suddenly Kenyans everywhere. There is an area just past the finish where athletes pass very close to the crowd, and Faith, Fred Kerley, and Neeraj Chopra took the time to have a selfie with all of them! Great to see athletes appreciating the crowd
Look at that smile! In a well-executed race, @itskerri took control with 30m to go, and no one was going to catch her, #DohaDL, #DiamondLeague, @SeashoreQRT, #PUMA, @qatarathletics https://t.co/W8zlr8Os9J
— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) May 6, 2023
There were events that were stacked, too close to call. Any one of about five ladies could have won the women’s 100, but only one did, and it was Sha’Carrie Richardson who did in 10.76 from Shericka Jackson and Dina Asher-Smith.
The women’s pole vault was won by reigning Olympic and world champion Katie Nageotte (Mrs. Moon to you)! Her winning leap of 4.81 saw off former champions like Sandi Morris and Aikaterini Stefanidi.
Every meeting needs a home win, but high jump legend, Mutaz Essa Barshim, was unable to provide it, finishing third. There was a pre-Diamond League program that gave an opportunity to about 20 local athletes to run before a large crowd. It was also great to see five children’s and youth races, including two girls’ races, as Qatar seeks to promote girls’ sports.
Faith Kipyegon won the 1500m in her first serious race of the year in 3:58.57 and then told me she was disappointed with the time! I suppose that is what makes her a great champion.
There was a men’s triple jump where Pedro Pichardo leaped to 17.91, but the great Christian Taylor, still recovering from that terrible injury, was ninth with 16.53.
Finally, every Diamond League needs a shock, and the women’s steeplechase provided it with a win for Winifred Yavi, a Kenyan-born athlete running for Bahrain.
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