Caster Semenya wins the 800m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha (© Getty Images)
With the opening meeting of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League series now less than six weeks away, some of athletics’ biggest stars have been added to the world-class line up of world and Olympic champions that will open their outdoor seasons in Doha on 5 May.
The women’s 800m promises an epic showdown between the three Olympic medallists: Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui.
Semenya had an unbeaten season at 800m last year, winning the Olympic title and the Diamond Race in that event. World indoor champion Niyonsaba earned the silver medal in Rio and with it also made history by becoming Burundi’s first-ever female Olympic medallist. 21-year-old Wambui of Kenya is the 2014 world U20 champion and last year took bronze medals at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and the Olympic Games.
The women’s 3000m steeplechase is also set to be electrifying as the top six athletes from the 2016 Olympic final will line up in Doha.
Ruth Jebet flew past the competition in Rio to become Bahrain’s first-ever Olympic gold medallist. Less than two weeks later, she smashed the world record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris with a time of 8:52.78.
Kenya’s world champion Hyvin Kiyeng and US record-holder Emma Coburn, the silver and bronze medallist in Rio, will also be aiming to start their outdoor season with a bang in Doha.
Two more medallists from Rio will be in action in the shot put as USA’s Olympic champion Michelle Carter takes on Olympic bronze medallist Anita Marton of Hungary.
The stars unveiled today further strengthen the field of world-class athletes announced last week, which included 200m rivals Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers, Qatar’s Olympic high jump silver medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim, and 400m sprint sensations Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt.
Organisers for the IAAF
2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar
5 May – Doha, QAT
13 May – Shanghai, CHN
27 May – Eugene, USA
8 Jun – Rome, ITA
15 Jun – Oslo, NOR
18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
1 Jul – Paris, FRA
6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
9 Jul – London, GBR
16 Jul – Rabat, MAR
21 Jul – Monaco, MON
20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
24 Aug – Zurich, SUI
1 Sep – Brussels, BEL