Mutaz Barshim wins the high jump at the Diamond League meeting in Doha (© Hasse Sjogren/Jiro Mochizuki)
World high jump champion Mutaz Barshim will be the headline name at this year’s Doha Diamond League on 4 May as he once again kicks off his 2018 outdoor season in front of a home crowd at the opening meeting of the 2018 IAAF Diamond League.
Barshim was unstoppable last year, ending the season unbeaten in 11 competitions and adding the world champion and World Athlete of the Year accolades to his collection.
“I always love competing in the Doha Diamond League in front of my fans, my family and my country," said Barshim, whose unbeaten streak included his first victory at the Doha Diamond League. "Last year was an amazing season but I know that I have more to give and I cannot wait for this year’s outdoor season to begin. My main aim in Doha is to win and I want to give the crowd a show so that we keep inspiring new athletes and new fans in Qatar and around the world."
Barshim will face stiff competition from a field that includes 2017 world bronze medallist Majd Eddin Ghazal of Syria, fellow London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz of Great Britain, 2018 world indoor bronze medallist Mateusz Przybylko of Germany, and 2014 world indoor bronze medallist Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine.
Barshim was crowned Qatar’s greatest-ever athlete when he won Olympic silver in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, adding to his London 2012 Olympic bronze and 2014 world indoor title. With a 2.43m lifetime best, Barshim is the second highest jumper in history, two centimetres shy of Javier Sotomayor's world record set in 1993, just two years after Barshim was born. Barshim has now jumped 2.40m or higher for five consecutive seasons and will be looking to continue his dominant form into 2018.
He'll also be joined by a compatriot, 21-year-old rising star Mohamat Allamine Hamdi who took world U20 bronze in 2016 and more recently, bronze at the 2018 Asian Indoor Championships.
“It is important for all the young and aspiring athletes (in Qatar) to take every opportunity they get to make their presence felt in such world-class competitions," said Hamdi, who like Barshim, is coached by Stanislaw Szczyrba.
"The Diamond League is an event where people can break through and make their mark. I am really looking forward to competing this year and absorb the amazing atmosphere. In the future I want to keep pushing and I know with Mutaz’s support, I can achieve great things."
Other global superstars already announced include Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, 200m world champion Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands, 3000m world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya, Qatar’s Abderrahaman Samba who won last year’s Doha Diamond League 400m hurdles, and Thomas Röhler and Johannes Vetter of Germany, the Olympic and world javelin throw champions, respectively.
Organisers for the IAAF
2018 IAAF Diamond League calendar
4 May – Doha, QAT
12 May – Shanghai, CHN
26 May – Eugene, USA
31 May – Rome, ITA
7 Jun – Oslo, NOR
10 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
30 Jun – Paris, FRA
5 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
13 Jul – Rabat, MAR
20 Jul – Monaco, MON
21-22 Jul – London, GBR
18 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
30 Aug – Zurich, SUI
31 Aug – Brussels, BEL