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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?

All photos by Marium Saeed

Fans flooded the Qatar Sports Club last night to support their favorite athletes as the sixth season of the IAAF Diamond League kicked off in Doha.

The opening of the highly anticipated track and field tournament saw the smashing of several records, including a new personal best for US sprinter Justin Gatlin, who set a world-leading time of 9.74 seconds in the 100 meters.

Double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah also competed ferociously in the 3,000 meter race, but despite his huge fan base and impressive performance, the UK athlete came in second to Hagos Gebrhiwet, who achieved a world lead at 7:38.08.

IAAF Diamond League

Marium Saeed

IAAF Diamond League

Meanwhile, Allyson Felix secured her spot in first place in the women’s 200-meter race and also achieved a Diamond League record of 21.98.

Amid the big names, several emerging athletes like Jasmin Stowers wowed the crowd with their performances. Stowers took first place in the women’s 100-meter hurdle ahead of Olympic champion Sally Pearson, who came in fourth.

The Diamond League tournament consists of 14 meetings and 32 different disciplines.

In line with its increasing interest in hosting international sporting events, Doha staged the first ever Diamond League at Qatar Sports Club stadium in 2010.

During a recent press conference, Felix said:

“Qatar has hosted so many sports events in recent years, they are doing an amazing job. They are constantly building and introducing new innovations. Athletes always love to be here.”

The Doha leg has concluded and the next stop for this year’s league will be Shanghai, with the final meeting set to take place in Brussels on Sept. 11.

More results from the Doha meeting can be found online here.

Thoughts?