Qatari 100m record holder, Femi Ogunode, who broke the Asian record with his 9.93 victory at the Asian Games in Incheon last September will test his might against top world stars when the 2015 IAAF Diamond League campaign kicks off at the Doha 2015 meeting on Friday May 15.
Ogunode, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on the day of the meet, would have former Olympic champion, Justin Gatlin; Kim Collins, the 2003 world champion; U.S. champion Michael Rodgers and other to contend with in the men’s 100m.
Gatlin, the winner in 2004 in Athens. Last season the 33-year-old American re-emerged as the world’s top sprinter by producing the year’s fastest times in both the 100m and 200m clocking 9.77 and 19.68 respectively. Underscoring his dominance, he was undefeated in fifteen 100m races and three over 200m.
“I love racing in Doha,” said Gatlin, the event’s Diamond Race winner in 2013 and 2014. He won here in 2012, three months before racing to Olympic bronze in London.
“The track, the conditions and the crowd always help make a fast race. Hopefully we can do that again this season.”
The field will include Kim Collins, the 2003 world champion, who is also illustrating that sprinters can improve with age. Collins, who was unbeaten in nine 60m races this winter, improved his career best to 9.96 last season. He’ll be 39 when he starts in Doha.
Jamaican colours will be represented by Nesta Carter, a two-time Olympic and world gold medallist in the 4x100m relay with a 9.78 best to his credit.
President of the Qatar Athletics Federation Mr. Dahlan Al Hamad said at the opening press conference: “We have set high standards in organising such an important and prestigious sporting event in previous years and we aim to continue in 2015 as well, at the highest possible level.
“We have proved on numerous occasions that we have the expertise and the know-how to successfully deliver what we pledge; we have the means to justify our role as a key and trusted partner of IAAF, especially since we were recently honoured to stage the 2019 IAAF World Championships,” he said.
Richards-Ross vs McCorory and Williams-Mills in 400m
In the women’s 400m, Sanya Richards-Ross will be chasing her first Diamond Trophy, the only major accolade missing from the London Olympic champion’s mighty trophy cabinet.
The U.S. record holder at 48.70 since 2006, Richards-Ross sped 49.66 last year to end 2014 as the season’s second fastest. She only trailed compatriot Francena McCorory who ran a 49.48 career best to take the national title. Three months earlier McCorory took the world indoor title in the event.
They’ll face Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica, whose consistency last season led her to the Diamond Race title. A 50.05 performer last year, she clocked her 49.63 personal best in 2006.
Taylor to take on a formidable French duo
After winning his third straight Diamond Race Trophy last season, Christian Taylor will start as the favourite in the men’s triple jump. Last year the 24-year-old American reached 17.51m to end the season as the fourth farthest jumper in the world. He has a career best of 17.96m which propelled him to the world title in Daegu in 2011.
In Doha, he’ll face a formidable French duo. Benjamin Compaore produced a strong campaign in 2014, taking the European title in August and victory at the Continental Cup three weeks later where he improved his best to 17.48m.
Teddy Tamgho meanwhile returns to action this outdoor season hoping to pick up where he left off after winning the 2013 world title with a 18.04m personal best. With that leap, the 25-year-old became one of just three men to have sailed beyond the 18-metre barrier.
Tamgho is also the world indoor record holder at 17.92m, a jump that propelled him to the continental indoor title in 2011.