Piotr Malachowski at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League in Doha (© Deca Text & Bild)
World champions Piotr Malachowski, Christina Schwanitz and Katharina Molitor will lead their respective fields at the Doha 2016 Meeting on Friday 6 May, the opening meeting the seventh season of the IAAF Diamond League.
Malachowski will lead a podium reunion from the 2015 World Championships in the discus throw, while Schwanitz will head the field in the shot put and her German compatriot Molitor in the javelin throw.
“We’ve witnessed some memorable performances in the throws events in Doha in recent years,” said Qatar Athletics Federation President Dahlan Al Hamad. “We hope to see that tradition grow this year, especially with world champions Piotr Malachowski, Christina Schwanitz and Katharina Molitor kicking off their Diamond League and Olympic seasons here against very strong and competitive fields.”
Malachowski, who also struck Olympic silver in 2008 and world silver in 2009 and 2013, is no stranger to Doha, winning here in 2012 and 2014, two of the three seasons in which he won the Diamond Race. With a career best of 71.84m, Malachowski ranks fifth on the world all-time list.
He will take on Belgium’s Philip Milanov and Poland’s Robert Urbanek, the silver and bronze medallists in Beijing last year. Just 24, Milanov made his IAAF Diamond League debut as recently as 2014. 28-year-old Urbanek is considerably more experienced, having taking European bronze in 2014 and achieving victories last year at the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Oslo and Zurich.
The field also includes Sweden’s world finalist Daniel Stahl, Hungary’s 2004 Olympic silver medallist Zoltan Kovago, and Oceanian record-holder Benn Harradine of Australia. Local attention will fall on Qatar’s Asian Games bronze medallist Ahmed Mohamed Dheeb.
Schwanitz produced the finest season of her career in 2015, one in which she won the world title, collected five IAAF Diamond League victories en route to her first Diamond Race Trophy, and led the world with a 20.77m personal best. She also produced the year’s four farthest throws.
In Doha she'll face USA’s Michelle Carter, who arrives in the Qatari capital fresh from her gold medal showing at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016. The national record holder at 20.24m, Carter took bronze at last year’s World Championships.
The field also includes Hungary’s European indoor champion and world indoor silver medallist Anita Marton.
Molitor will also face a formidable field in her pursuit of a first victory in IAAF Diamond League competition. Last year, the 32-year-old arrived at the World Championships without a major medal to her name, but rose to the occasion by improving her career best to 67.69m to take unexpected gold.
Among her key rivals is African record-holder and two-time world bronze medallist Sunette Viljoen of South Africa and Slovenian record-holder Martina Ratej, who won in Doha two years ago and set her PB of 67.16m at the 2010 edition of the meeting.
Organisers also announced the women’s pole vault field which is shaping into one of the most wide open events of the meeting.
World indoor silver medallist Sandi Morris of the USA and world indoor bronze medallist Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece will take on world bronze medallist and Diamond Race winner Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou.
The field also includes three-time Diamond Race winner Silke Spiegelburg of Germany, Swiss record-holder Nicole Buchler, and Asian record-holder Li Ling of China.
Elsewhere, Venezuela’s world indoor champion Yulimar Rojas has been added to the triple jump field and will take on two other reigning global champions: world champion Caterine Ibarguen and Olympic champion Olga Rypakova. And Spain’s Orlando Ortega, the 10th-fastest man of all-time at 12.94, has been added to the 110m hurdles field.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL