DOHA, Qatar — Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson and South Africa’s Caster Semenya are among sixteen reigning World and Olympic champions scheduled to kick off the 2017 IAAF Diamond League series in Doha on Friday, April 5.
Follow live results and updates from Doha | All 14 meets will be televised live on TV in the US on NBC, NBCSN or Universal HD.
Thompson v Schippers Over 200m
In one of the highlighted matchups in the Qatar capital, Thompson, who won the women’s 100m and 200m sprint double at Rio 2016 last summer, will go head-to-head with Dutch star and world champion Dafne Schippers in the women’s 200m.
Both sprinters have already shown solid early season form, with Schippers already posting a time of 22.29 seconds in the half-lap event and 10.95 over the 100m.
Thompson, meanwhile, has clocked a slightly wind-aided 10.75 in the 100m a few weeks ago, while the Jamaican also impressed when anchoring her nation to victory at the recently concluded Penn Relays.
Veronica Campbell-Brown, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion over 200m, as well as Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, the fourth place finisher in Rio in the 100m and 200m finals, will also lineup in the event.
Dibaba To Test Semenya In 800m
In the meantime, Semenya, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic 800m champion, will battle with world 1500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia, who will be making her debut in the two-lap event.
Semenya, without giving anything away, is excited about running her own race against Dibaba.
“I run races in my style, and not how others will run theirs,” she said at the press conference.
“Obviously she doesn’t know my race plan and I don’t know hers. She is a great runner and I’m really excited about it.”
Kenyan Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Nyambui and Olympic finallist Joanna Jozwik of Poland, who led the world this year during the world indoor season with a time of 1:59.29, are also expected to challenge for the win.
The Changing Of The Guards
The men’s 100m will feature some of the season campaigners against some of the top upcoming stars.
Triple Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse of Canada and South African Akani Simbine, who has already posted five sub-10 seconds this season, will battle against 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin of the US and Jamaica’s former world record-holder Asafa Powell.
American Ronnie Baker, who ran unbeaten during the indoor season over 60m and clocked a personal best of 9.99 seconds to open his outdoor season, as well as 2003 world champion Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis, are also included in the event.
Harrison Looking To Go Fast Again
The women’s 100m hurdles features world record-holder Kendra Harrison of the US and she will be looking to build on her world leading time of 12.56 seconds at the 2017 Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, over the weekend.
“I want to run fast and the conditions here are good for that,” she said. “It’s nice and hot.
“I heard that the track is really fast and hard so I’m really excited about that.”
Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali of USA, in addition to Cindy Ofili of Great Britain, an Olympic finallist, Germany’s Cindy Roleder, the European champion and world silver medallist, as well as Jamaica’s Megan Simmonds and USA’s Sharika Nelvis, will all be challenging Harrison.
Taylor Hunts Another Doha Win
In action in the field, American two-time world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor will seek a third Doha win when he features in the men’s triple jump.
Taylor will be making his third appearance in the event in the 2017 outdoor campaign, following his season best of 17.26m in Azusa, California, and his 16.93m performance to win at the Drake Relays last weekend.
The 26-year-old is set to battle with China’s Dong Bin, who is the world indoor champion and Olympic bronze medallist in the event.
USA’s Omar Craddock, who was third behind Taylor at Drake Relays and Alexis Copello, who won a bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships while competing for Cuba before switching to represent Azerbaijan, are also capable of challenging for a podium spot.
More Action In The Field Events
In the women’s shot put, USA’s Olympic champion Michelle Carter leads a solid field, which also includes Hungary’s current world leader Anita Marton, who is the Olympic bronze medallist.
Marton, the European indoor champion, has already thrown 19.63m this term.
USA’s Brittany Smith and veteran Cleopatra Borel of Trinidad and Tobago will also lineup in the event.
The men’s high jump competition sees home hero Mutaz Barshim seeking his first ever victory at the Doha Diamond League
Barshim, who is the Olympic silver medallist and two-time Diamond Trophy winner, enters this series opener as the world leader with a mark of 2.35m.
USA’s Erik Kynard, the 2016 Diamond Trophy winner and the 2012 Olympic silver medallist, as well as Great Britain’s London Games bronze medal winner Robbie Grabarz of Great Britain, will also contest the event.
Elsewhere at the 2017 Doha Diamond League meet the 400m field on the men’s side will feature current world leader Steven Gardiner from the Bahamas and he will take on 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt of the US and Botswana’s Karabo Sibanda.