Doha gears up for Diamond League opener

Ray Toh / Doha News

IAAF Diamond League opener 2016

Qatari Olympic high jumper Mutaz Barshim will be among several star athletes competing in the 2017 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha next month.

The event opens on May 5 at 6pm at the Qatar Sports Club, and includes both men and women’s races, as well as pole vault, shot put and other events.

Here’s the full schedule.

Barshim, who won Qatar’s first silver medal at the Rio Olympics, is one of 13 Qatari athletes who will compete in the season opener.

They will be joined by a host of world-class athletes from around the world, including:

  • Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, who will be competing in the 200m;
  • Three-time world champion and Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, who will run the men’s 1,500m; and
  • The “fastest man in Asia,” Nigeria’s Femi Ogunde, who will run the 100m.

If you’d like to see the stars in action, tickets for the event are on sale now online. Prices start at QR40 per person.

Home turf

In a statement, Barshim said that he is excited to appear in front of a home crowd during one of his first competitions of the season.

Mutaz Barshim/Twitter

Mutaz Barshim

“Competing at home makes it very special. It is such a great thing, a great atmosphere, especially in Doha,” he said.

However, the 25-year-old added that his “main focus” this season is the World Championships in London in August, where he’s hoping to win his first ever gold medal.

Qatar’s team

Thirteen Qatari athletes will compete at the meeting in all, including fellow Olympians Ahmed Bedeer in the javelin and sprinter Femi Ogunode in the 100m.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Ahmed Badeer

Qatar is also fielding some new talent at the event, with both 22-year-old Abdulrahman Samba and 19-year-old Mohamed Shaib competing in the 400m hurdles.

Samba, an Aspire Academy graduate, came first at the Sasol-NWU International athletics meeting in March in South Africa with a time of 48.31 seconds. So hopes are high that the 22-year-old will do well in Doha.

Do you plan to check out the competition? Thoughts?

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