DOHA, QATAR, Sporting Alert – A large volume of past Olympic and IAAF World Championships champions and other medal winners will be in action at the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha, on Friday.
No fewer than 38 gold medallists, from previous Olympic Games and World Championships, in addition to some 80 athletes which have won other medals, are gearing up to get the series underway in what is expected to be another great atmosphere inside the “Hamad Bin Suhaim Stadium.”
Live streaming coverage will be available for USA viewers on beIN Sports and beIN Sports Connect – starting at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Among the leading athletes down to compete on Friday are sprinters Veronica Campbell-Brown, LaShawn Merritt, Dafne Schippers, longer distant runners Caster Semenya, Alma Ayana, Hurdlers Omar McLeod and Jamaican countryman Hansle Parchment, as well as jumpers Christian Taylor and Mutaz Essa Barshim.
After his outstanding start to the outdoor season this term, where he clocked a personal best of 9.99 secs for the 100m and opened his hurdles campaign with a world-leading 13.08 secs time in terrible conditions last week at the Drake Relays, everyone will now want to see what kind of performance McLeod will deliver on his Diamond League debut.
One of his main challengers could be his fellow countryman, Parchment, who is the Olympic bronze medallist.
World record holder Aries Merritt of USA will be hoping for a better performance this weekend after he was choppy at Drake and struggled to find his rhythm.
American veteran David Oliver will also be in the line-up.
The men’s 400m event could also produce a fast time, with American LaShawn Merritt, the second fastest man in the world this year, seeking to break his own meeting record of 44.19 secs.
The 2008 Olympic champion also has his eyes set on breaking the world record of 43.18 and he thinks this could be the year Michael Johnson’s 1999 outstanding mark goes.
Lining up against the two-time world champion at the Diamond League meeting in Doha, on Friday will be great talents such as Olympic silver medallist Luguelín Santos from the Dominican Republic, Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, as well as Caribbean stars Machel Cedenio of Trinidad and Tobago and Bahamian Steven Gardiner.
Elsewhere on the track, Schippers and Campbell-Brown headline the women’s 100m field, Barshim heads things up in the men’s high jump, while Taylor promises to deliver something big in the men’s triple jump – if it is needed to win the competition.
In other events, South Africa’s 2009 world champion Caster Semenya will look to continue her rich form this season when she battles with Kenya’s 2013 world champion Eunice Sum in the women’s 800m.
Semenya is the world-leader with a time of 1:58.45.
The women’s 3000m will see the speedy Alma Ayana of Ethiopia, the world 5000m champion from Beijing 2015, going up against the 10,000m champion from those championships, Vivian Cheruiyot.
This one could be quick.