What: Diamond League Doha – an annual top level one-day World Athletics competition
Where: Qatar Sports Club, Doha, Qatar
When: Friday, May 5, 6:00 PM (3:00 PM GMT)
The world’s top track and field athletes are eager to go when the track and field season kicks off Friday at the Diamond League in Doha.
Athletes watching the finish line in Qatar’s capital include 15 reigning world and Olympic champions, including host country’s high jumper Mutaz Barshim, Kenyan middle-distance runner Faith Kipyegon, Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, Jamaican sprinter Shericka Jackson and the Moroccan steeplechase. champion Soufiane El-Bakkali.
The event kicks off the Diamond League season, the elite World Athletics competition held annually at 14 different venues.
India’s Chopra, who rose to fame following his gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is making his debut in the Diamond League Doha and has already set his sights on breaking the 90m barrier in the men’s javelin throw.
“Doha is known for its 90-meter throws, so it will be a great game for all of us,” he said ahead of the event.
After hosting the FIFA World Cup last year, Qatar has a busy sports calendar for 2023 and the star-studded Diamond League is one of the main events.
Barshim, the first and only athlete to win gold for Qatar in athletics, says the World Cup helped raise the country’s fame among sports fans around the world.
His own success, he says, has inspired young athletes in the country.
“When I train, kids come up to me and say ‘we want to be like you,’ and I urge them to make the most of the facilities at their disposal,” Barshim told Al Jazeera.
Who to watch out for
Mutaz Barshim, high jump (Qatar), Faith Kipyogen, 1,500 m (Kenya), Shericka Jackson, 100 m (Jamaica), Andre de Grasse, 200 m (Canada), Soufiane El-Bakkali, 3,000 m (Morocco), Neeraj Chopra, javelin throw (India), Fred Kerley, 200m (US), Katie Moon, pole vault (US)
Track: 100m (women), 200m (men), 400m (women), 800m (men), 1,500m (women), 100m hurdles (women), 400m hurdles (men), 3,000m (men), 3,000m steeplechase (women)
Field: Pole vault (women), discus throw (men), javelin throw (men), high jump (men), triple jump (men)
“Believe in yourself when you’re having a hard time…it can be hard”
The world’s best athletes talk about finding inspiration for a new season, inspiring the younger generation and the mental struggles of sport.
Mutaz Barshim: “I am in a different phase of my life, in my career, even though you know where you are. But deep down you don’t know because you always surprise yourself. There is always that extra that you try to reach and grab.”
Believe Kipyegon: “When I want to take my mind off sports, I spend time with my daughter and go to the farms.”
Neeraj Chopra: “Since I won gold in Tokyo, there has been a change in Indian sports culture. The young generation and the juniors are going to play sports. Some javelin throwers are arriving in India.’
Katie Moon: “Pole vaulting is 90 percent mental and the rest is physical. It’s a very mental sport. And I think all athletic events are mental in one way or another. So it’s easy when things are going well to believe in yourself, but to believe in yourself when you’re having a bit of a hard time, that can be hard.”