News04 May 2017

Latest Doha updates – IAAF Diamond League


Christian Taylor, Michelle Carter, MutazBarshim, Elaine Thompson, Dafne Schippers and Thomas Rohler at the pre-meet press conference in Doha (© Jiro Mochizuki/Hasse Sjogren)

Welcome to our comprehensive coverage of the Doha 2017 meeting.

This page will be updated regularly throughout the day today and right up until the competition begins tomorrow, incorporating news gathered from our correspondents on the ground here in Doha and from IAAF, local organisers' and athletes' social media channels. In short, a one-stop shop for all things Doha Diamond League.

To get up to speed, first check out our main in-depth meeting preview here. And while you're at it, share it on Facebook and Twitter.


15:33 - Worlds apart, but a shared passion. A short video via Doha Diamond League organisers:

US Olympic bronze medallist in the steeplechase Emma Coburn and aspiring Qatari sprinter Mariam Farid are worlds apart but have a shared passion for athletics. Ahead of the Doha Diamond League and with the 2019 IAAF World Championships on the horizon, the two athletes have come together for a frank and open discussion that explores the challenges and cultural perceptions of Arab female sports participation.

Read more.


14:52 - Have you picked your team yet? If not, what exactly are you waiting for? Deadline is 1pm UTC, about 65 minutes from now. Go!



13:30 - Nine minutes with Andre de Grasse.

Canadian hurdler Phylicia George sat down for a chat with the triple Olympic medallist on the eve of his highly-anticipated season's 100m debut. Watch it below.


11:43 - The Diamond League caught up with Olympic shot put champion Michelle Carter and pole vault silver medallist Sandi Morris last night for live Facebook video chats, taking questions from fans around the world. Watch below.



10:53 - G'day from Doha, where we're less than seven hours from the start of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League season. A couple notable start list updates:

A minor hamstring tweak has sidelined three-time world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya while Francine Niyonsaba, Burundi's Olympic 800m silver medallist and world indoor champion, experienced travel problems which will keep her from the start line.


23:57 - Good night from Doha. We hope you enjoyed our day-long coverage on the eve of the first IAAF Diamond League meeting of 2017. Check back Friday morning and afternoon for updates, all the way up until the first gun sounds.


Doha nightscape from the Marriott Marquis




19:50 - And your pace-setters' targets for Friday night:

Men's 1500m:
400m - 55.0
800m - 1:52.0 (Rotich)
1200m - 2:49.0 (Kivuva)
Men's 3000m:
400m - 59.0
800m - 2:00
1200m - 3:01 (Kazi)
1600m - 4:02
2000m - 5:02/03 (Cheboi)
Women's 800m:
400m - 57.0
Women's 3000m steeplechase:
1000m - 3:05/06 (Tuigong)
2000m - 6:10 (Gathoni)
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19:41 - Start lists are now available. Here.


18:49 - Another high-powered duel: Olympic pole vault gold and silver medallists Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris squaring off for the first time this season.


Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris in Doha


Said Stefanidi:

"It's my first meet of the year so a 4.85m bar? I'll be more than happy with it. But I also think it's going to take 4.85 or 4.90 to win."
Her thoughts on how high the world record, which currently stands of 5.06m, can go over the next decade?
"I think the 'right' record for the women's world record will be 5.20m. And I think in my career we'll see 5.10. We now have three girls who have jumped five metres. And very different athletes, all three of them. So I think we'll see world record attempts this year. Maybe even a world record."


Morris joined the five-metre club at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels last September, a moment she'll never forget.

"It was just a surreal experience to have 40,000 people stay in the stands to watch the pole vault. It was just a phenomenal way to finish that season. I remember that moment and what it meant to me. It's what keeps me going."
Reflecting further on her 2016 season, just her second in the professional ranks:
"It was just such a great way to kick off my professional career. If (this season) comes anywhere close to what it was last year it'll be a blessing."
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18:22 - When he cleared 2.43m in the 2014 IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, Mutaz Barshim became history's second highest jumper. As a two-time Olympic medallist, the 25-year-old is also one of Qatar's biggest sporting stars, whose every appearance summons talk of world record possibilities. 

Is the WR coming soon?
"I hope so! I'm really hoping this will be the year to break the world record. I'm really excited to kick off the season here at home."

Take a look at his 2.43m clearance here.


17:45 - The race of the night? For some, it'll be the 800m showdown between Olympic champion Caster Semenya and 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, who'll be making her debut over the distance.


Caster Semenya in Doha


Semenya's certainly looking forward to it, but won't divulge any secrets.
 "I run races in my style, and not how others will run theirs," she said, smiling. "Obviously she doesn't know my race plan and I don't know hers. She is a great runner and I'm really excited about it."
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17:02 - Thoughts from some of the fastest men in town --Andre de Grasse, Kim Collins and Asafa Powell-- on the eve of their 100m showdown. All three reported solid preparation coming into to Doha to kick off their IAAF Diamond League campaigns.


Kim Collins, Andre de Grasse and Asafa Powell in Doha


First up, Canada's triple Olympic medallist de Grasse, who'll be making his season's debut.

His thoughts on being called the "next Usain Bolt":
"I don't really think about that. I leave it up to others to say what they want to say. I have a lot of work to do, I'm young. I just have to continue to keep working hard."

Next up, Powell, a former world record holder in the event.

Does he think de Grasse is the 'next great sprinter?
"Well, two years in a row now he's been there, getting medals at championships. He's the only man that I can see right now."
On not ruling out Usain Bolt just because he's already announced his retirement:
"He's still in the sport, he's not retired. He's still the man to beat."

And finally, 2003 world champion Collins, who is at 41, the event's current grand master.

On how the sprint scene has changed over the course of his career:
"The people in the springs were a little more aggressive then they are now. Now, the competition is still there, and records are being broken, but not those kinds of rivalries."


15:16 - It's lunchtime. (Somewhere.) So why not join US steeplechase record holder and Olympic bronze medallist Emma Coburn for her typical midday meal on the road.



14:26 - More from this afternoon's press conference. Here's double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson on her new role as the world's 'Sprint Queen':


Elaine Thompson at the pre-meet press conference in Doha


"I feel no pressure, but it's good to be considered the fastest woman in the world. I'm looking forward to a fast time tomorrow night."


13:55 - Athletes will be meeting with media throughout the day. This morning, it was 100m hurdles world record holder Kendra Harrison and Nia Ali, the Olympic silver medallist.


Nia Ali and Kendra Harrison in Doha


First, Harrison.

On her goals for Friday:
“I want to run fast and the conditions here are good for that. It’s nice and hot. I heard that the track is really fast and hard so I’m really excited about that.”
On her goals for the rest of the season:
“I just want to improve, I want to run faster. I want to make the London world championships) team and do well there.”
On the exceptionally high level of sprint hurdling in the US:
“There’s probably eight of us who can make it to an Olympic final, it just says how strong our event is, and it makes it so exciting. Each time I’m at practice, it’s like, ‘You need to get through this, you need to work hard because you never know what can happen’.”

And Ali.

On her build-up to tomorrow’s season’s debut:
“I’m really excited about being here. My training’s been going well. I’ve had a few ups and downs in the beginning but I’ve been training really hard and am really happy to get the season going.”
And her thoughts on the exceptionally high level of sprint hurdling in the US:
“I think it’s just exciting that you never know who’s going to pop one off. Just knowing that, it keeps the event fresh. And that’s just in the States. In the states you have a semi-pattern going. You have the NCAAs, and you come out (of collegiate competition) smokin’ and the next year people are just added to the list.
“When you see people that are able to capitalise on what they did in college you look and say, ‘Hey I just raced this person in college, maybe I can go there too.’ So the more people that run 12.3, can then go 12.2. So to see Keni break the world record was an inspiration to everyone and had everyone think that we could all go faster.” 


13:35 - In case you missed, here's a nice summary of today's press conference at the City Center Mall in Doha's West Bay district. It was standing room only.




The press conference is about to begin. You can watch the stream right here, on the Diamond League Facebook page or Diamond League YouTube channel.


10:25 (local)

G'morning from the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha, the meeting's official hotel, which is already a flurry of activity.

We're about an hour away from the official pre-meet press conference which will feature Olympic champions Christian Taylor, Michelle Carter, Elaine Thompson and Thomas Röhler, as well as Qatar's Mutaz Barshim and world 200m champion Dafne Schippers. It will be streamed live on the Diamond League Facebook Page here and the Diamond League's YouTube channel here.