Chopra’s opening, Moraa, Gardiner, and middle distances, as expected, highlights

DOHA (QAT): The third meeting of the 2024 Wanda Diamond League takes place in Doha. Most of the scheduled disciplines have their DL season debut. Reigning World champion Neeraj Chopra opens his season, in which he wants to finally chase the 90-meter. An interesting clash of champions is expected in the women’s pole vault; fans hope for fast times in the men’s 200m and 400m (with Steven Gardiner) sprints, Mary Moraa wants to confirm her 800m ambitions, and strong groups of Ethiopian runners run in the women’s 1500m and 5000m (here challenged by Beatrice Chebet). Warm weather is guaranteed, but wind might be a factor.

Event-by-event short previews

Women

100m: After a good 200m in Suzhou, Daryll Neita faces Tamari Davis, who is sub-11 this year.

800m: Mary Moraa begins as the clear favorite after a 1:57.96 season debut. Other notable entrants include Halimah Nakaayi, while Jemma Reekie makes her outdoor season debut.

1500m: An Ethiopian procession is expected, with Freweyni Hailu, Diribe Welteji, and Worknesh Mesele among the entrants. However, Birke Haylom is a late withdrawal. The meeting record of 3:56.30 could be challenged.

5000m: World cross-country champion Beatrice Chebet faces a massive Ethiopian phalanx, including Ejgayehu Taye (14:12.98), Medina Eisa (14:16.54), Melknat Wudu (14:39.36), Lemlem Hailu (14:34.53), and Mekedes Alemeshete, who currently holds the world lead at 14:36.70, which should be bettered.

100m hurdles: Alaysha Johnson is the fastest in the field and takes on world leader Tonea Marshall (12.42 this year) and Europe’s best, including European champion Pia Skrzyszowska, Ditaji Kambundji, and Nadine Visser.

High jump: Former world champion Eleanor Patterson will face Ukrainians Iryna Gerashchenko and Yuliya Levchenko, Serbian rising talent Angelina Topic, and World Indoor medalist Lia Apostolovski.

Pole vault: This is the first outdoor competition of the season for world indoor champion Molly Caudery, who faces the likes of joint world champion Nina Kennedy, Sandi Morris, Ekaterini Stefanidi, and healthy Tina Sutej. Kennedy’s world outdoor lead of 4.70m looks likely to be improved.

Men

200m: Joint world leader Courtney Lindsey faces an established field, including multiple global medallist Kenny Bednarek and Liberia’s Joseph Fahnbulleh. A meeting record of 19.83 could be vulnerable.

400m: Intriguing clash between Steven Gardiner as he continues his comeback from injury against world leader Bayapo Ndori, who has already clocked 44.10 this year.

1500m: This is an open field that includes former world champion Timothy Cheruiyot, world bronze medallist Narve Gilje Nordas, and the up-and-coming Kenyan Reynold Cheruiyot, who holds the world lead at 3:31.96. Andreas Almgren drops down in distance after a recent sub-27-minute 10,000m.

3000m steeple: Leading contenders include Kenyans Abraham Kibiwott, Ben Kigen and Amos Serem and the experienced Ethiopian Getnet Wale, a new world lead is expected.

400m hurdles: Alison dos Santos starts as the big favourite, with most of his main rivals absent.

Long jump: Miltiadis Tentoglou makes his outdoor season’s debut. The line-up also features former world champion Tajay Gayle and world indoor heptathlon champion Simon Ehammer.

Discus (non-DL): Kristjan Ceh makes his season’s debut against the in-form Matt Denny, who has improved to 69.35m this year.

Javelin: First competition of the year for Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra against 90 metre-plus performers Jakub Vadlejch, Anderson Peters and Julius Yego

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