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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?

ADLQ/Facebook

Anti-Doping Lab Qatar

A Qatar-based laboratory that tests athletes for illegal drugs has been cleared to resume its work following a five-month suspension.

The Anti-Doping Lab Qatar (ADLQ) was ordered to halt urine and blood testing in November for failing to adhere to international quality standards.

However, in a statement yesterday, the World Anti-Doping Agency said it was confident that “the laboratory has corrected its deficiencies.”

It added that it would continue to monitor the lab to ensure the highest standards are followed.

The announcement comes just weeks before Qatar hosts the opening of the latest season of the IAAF Diamond League.

Level the playing field

Qatar’s lab opened in 2012 and provides drug testing to athletes in the Gulf and across West Asia during competitions, training and in the off-season.

Part of its mandate is to run educational programs for athletes and eventually establish a more level playing ground by working to eliminate the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

ADLQ/Facebook

Anti-Doping Lab Qatar

During its suspension, samples coming out of the lab had to be transported to another WADA-accredited facility.

Qatar’s lab was one of five WADA facilities to be temporarily closed last year.

And according to the Associated Press, six such facilities remain shut down for non-compliance issues. They are in Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Portugal, Madrid and South Africa.

Thoughts?

QFA

Saoud Al Mohannadi, vice chairman of Qatar Football Association

A senior Qatari football official has won his appeal against FIFA’s ethics committee, which had banned him from the sport for one year.

Saoud Al-Mohannadi was cleared of allegations that he failed to cooperate with the ethics committee on an undisclosed investigation.

In a statement, FIFA said that there was not enough proof to meet “the comfortable satisfaction of the members of the Appeal Committee” that Al-Mohannadi did anything wrong.

MCaviglia/Wikimedia

FIFA headquarters

It added:

“Therefore, the one-year ban imposed by the adjudicatory chamber on Mr Al-Mohannadi, which entered into force on 16 November 2016, and the fine of CHF 20,000 have been lifted.”

The punishment was imposed against the Qatar Football Association (QFA) Vice-Chairman in November 2016.

The exact nature of any impropriety remains unknown, but FIFA previously said that it was not related to the 2022 World Cup.

QFA had maintained that the charges were “without legitimate basis.”

Elections

Al-Mohannadi, who is also vice president of the Asian Football Confederation, was also prohibited from running for a seat in FIFA’s newly reformed executive committee.

AFC

AFC Extraordinary Congress 2016

Displeased by this, Asia’s top football officials refused to participate in a planned ExCo election in September.

According to Al-Mohannadi’s lawyers, a new election is set for May. However, Reuters reports that he has missed the deadline to stand for these elections.

Thoughts?