Abdalelah Haroun wins the 400m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (© Getty Images)
Team Qatar will be out in full force at this year’s Doha Diamond League. 2017 World bronze medallist Abdalleleh Haroun, 2017 Doha Diamond League winner Abderrahaman Samba and Olympian and World Championship finalist Ahmed Bader Magour will feature amongst the 14-strong squad challenging athletics’ superstars at the Qatar Sports Club on Friday 4 May when the 2018 IAAF Diamond League gets underway.
A ferocious young talent, the 21-year-old Haroun got his 2018 season off to an electric start at the Asian Indoor Championships in Tehran in February when he became the first back-to-back winner of an Asian indoor 400m title. The 2016 World U20 champion and world indoor silver medallist claimed his first senior outdoor medal last year with bronze at the IAAF World Championships in London.
Haroun to face Gardiner and Makwala
Haroun will line up in an incredibly strong field that features last year’s world silver medallist Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas and 2017 Diamond League champion Isaac Makwala of Botswana. Another rising Qatari star, Mohamed Nasir Abbas, will also be looking to get his outdoor season off to a strong start ahead of this year’s Asian Games in Indonesia. The 2014 U20 Asian champion claimed bronze behind Haroun at this year’s Asian Indoor Championships with a personal best time.
“I was so proud to win bronze for Qatar in the London World Championships last year but I want to achieve even more success in the future,” Haroun said. “This season is a big, important one for me and I have been training hard and staying very focused on achieving my goals. I can’t wait to get out on the track at Qatar Sports Club and compete in front of the home crowd in the Diamond League. This always motivates me to push myself harder and achieve even more and I hope that I will make everyone proud.”
Samba vs Clement, McMaster and Copello
Samba stunned an incredibly strong field of experienced athletes in only his third attempt at the 400m hurdles to storm to victory in last year’s Doha Diamond League, beating reigning Olympic Champion, Kerron Clement of the USA by over a second with a time of 48.44. The two will go head-to-head again this year but will face further challenges from last year’s Diamond League champion Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands and Turkey’s Yasmani Copello, who claimed silver in last year’s World Championships. The 22-year-old Samba will be looking to overcome his disappointment and use the experience from last year’s World Championships when he approached the final hurdle in medal position but stumbled to finish seventh place.
Bader to face javelin giants Rohler and Vetter
22-year-old Aspire Academy graduate Ahmed Bader will line up in what promises to be a thrilling javelin competition, featuring reigning Olympic champion Thomas Röhler of Germany, reigning world champion Johannes Vetter, also of Germany, reigning world silver medallist and 2018 Diamond League champion Yakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic, and reigning Olympic silver medallist Julian Yego of Kenya. Thomas Röhler stole the show and wowed the crowds at last year’s Diamond League when he threw 93.90m to become at the time the No. 2 thrower in history. Bader used his incredible experience of finishing fifth in that historic competition to win gold at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, and will be looking to gain further experience competing against the very best in the world in May. He will be joined by aspiring Team Qatar athlete Mohmed Ibrahim Kaida.
Two Team Qatar athletes, Jamal Hairane and Abubaker Haydar Abdalla, will feature in an exciting Men’s 800m, which includes 2017 world silver and bronze medallists Adam Kszczot of Poland and Kipyegon Bett of Kenya respectively, 2017 Diamond League champion Nijel Amos of Botswana, and World 1500m champion Elijah Manangoi of Kenya, who will draw huge interest as he drops down to the shorter distance in Doha. Abdalla will start his 2018 outdoor campaign full of confidence following his gold medal winning performance at the 2018 Asian Indoor Championships. Meanwhile team-mate Hairane enters the 2018 season following a successful 2017 that saw him win gold at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat and silver in both the 800m and 1500m at the Asian Championships in Bhubaneshwar.
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