Qatar's Musaeb Balla leads the 800m (© Getty Images)
Many of the world’s leading athletes will be in action in Doha on 15 May for the opening fixture of the 2015 IAAF Diamond League, but there will be plenty for the local fans to cheer for too as a handful of Qatar’s top athletes will be set to compete.
With no men’s high jump on the schedule, world indoor champion Mutaz Essa Barshim won’t be in attendance, but a handful of talented Qatari athletes will be in action instead.
National record-holder Musaeb Balla will be making his fifth appearance at the Doha IAAF Diamond League meeting, having previously set PBs at the 2010, 2012 and 2013 editions. Already this year, the 26-year-old clocked a world-leading time indoors over 800m and more recently won the Arab title.
In Doha on 15 May he will come up against world 800m champion Mohammed Aman and world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop.
Qatar’s new wonder kid Abdalelah Haroun will make his IAAF Diamond League debut in a non-scoring 400m race, exclusively for Asian athletes. Haroun, just 18, burst on to the scene earlier this year with a sensational clocking of 45.39 indoors. Not only was it the fastest indoor debut in history, it also broke the senior Asian indoor record.
Already this year, he has clocked 44.68 in both of his outdoor competitions, most recently when winning the Arab title in bad conditions in Manama. The Asian junior record is just 0.02 away from his current PB.
The hosts will be represented in the 100m by double Asian Games champion Femi Ogunode. Last year the 23-year-old took the bronze medal in the 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and then went on to set an Asian 100m record of 9.93 and a Qatari 200m record of 20.06.
His two previous appearances at the Doha IAAF Diamond League meeting have been in the 200m, finishing in the top three on both occasions.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September