Time to shine in Doha
The hunt for the richest pot in international track and field gets going today and what better place to start than the deep-pocketed Emirate state of Qatar, where five Jamaicans will line up in the latest staging of the Doha Diamond League.
The temperature is expected to be around 40 degrees Celsius at the start of competition and it should be just as hot on the track and in the field as over a dozen Olympic champions and 11 World Champions get the series underway in the desert.
Nesta Carter will fly the Jamaican flag in a pretty impressive men’s 100m line-up; it’s a case of the experienced, the young and the ever improving with Novlene Williams-Mills, Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Christine Day looking to chase down the fast - starting Sanya Richards-Ross in one of the best events on the schedule, while O’Dayne Richards continue his climb up the ladder with his Doha debut.
That’s where the Jamaican interest will lie, but there’s so much more happening in the Middle Eastern city with several other big names and big clashes certain to excite at the Qatar Sports Club.
British distance man Mo Farah has been in amazing form in 2015, lowering the two mile world indoor record and running a half marathon in under an hour - this he credits to the work done during a seven week pre-season camp in the high altitudes of Ethiopia
There’s the 800m square-off between World champion – indoor and outdoors - Mohammed Aman (Ethiopia) and 1500m world champion Asbel Kiprop (Kenya) in the shorter distance, while American sprinter Allyson Felix chases her 11th straight win here and will have Murielle Ahoure and Shalonda Solomon for company in the 200m, whereas, in the men’s shot put a field has been assembled that could pass for the final of a World Championships.
Dawn Harper Nelson and Sally Pearson - the most recent Olympic champions will get a close look at new US sensation Jasmin Stowers, whose 12.40 and 12.29 times make quite a challenger for the win here.
Justin Gatlin joked to reporters about not being able to get away from sprinting king Usain Bolt, with the Jamaican’s absence in Doha unnoticeable given the plethora of advertising billboards and campaigns here featuring the six-time Olympic champion.
“He’s everywhere!” Gatlin exclaimed.
Still, it’s the American who had dominated headlines in 2014, winning all 18 of his races and posting the best two times in both the 100m and 200m. Gatlin, the defending Diamond Race winner in the 100m enters the event with Carter, who has already posted a 9.98 mark this year, Mike Rodgers - also of the US, Kittitian Kim Collins and Brit James Dasaolu all eager to test his form in 2015.
Exciting as that may be, the women’s 400m, which features three Jamaicans, will certainly be worth its primetime scheduling. McPherson was third (50.98) to the sub-50 seconds queen, Jamaica-born USA star Sanya Richards-Ross (49.95) with Francena McCorory (50.73) taking second at last week’s Jamaica International Invitational. All three will be back at it today and while it will be hard for anyone to beat Richards-Ross here, defending Diamond race winner Novlene Williams-Mills will be looking to step up another gear after her fourth place finish in 51.32 in Kingston as Christine Day looks to continue being competitive.
9:30am Long Jump Women
9:35am Discus Women
9:40am Shot Put Men (O’Dayne Richards)
10:10am Pole Vault Men
10:25am High Jump Women
11:04am 400m Hurdles Men
11:10am Javelin Throw Men
11:15am 1500m Women
11:29am 800m Men
11:40am Triple Jump Men
11:41am 200m Women
11:52am 100m Hurdles Women
12:02pm 3000m Steeplechase Women
12:23pm 100m Men (Nesta Carter)
12:34pm 400m Women (Novlene Williams-Mills, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Christine Day)
12:45pm 3000m Men