RIO Olympic Games high jump silver medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim is set to lead a star-studded field at the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Doha Diamond League, to be held at the Qatar Sports Club on May 5.
Mutaz, eyeing Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s long-standing record of 2.45M set in 1993, plans to start his season in front of home fans.
Mutaz said it would be an ideal way to start his preparations for the London World Championships in August.
“Yeah, the World Championships in August are the main target. The Doha Diamond League would be a good preparatory event,” said Mutaz, whose personal best of 2.43M, the second-highest jump in history, came at the Brussels Diamond League meeting in 2014.
The 25-year-old, who had won the 2014 and 2015 Diamond Race titles, lost out to America’s Erik Kynard last year. The two will be challenged by Great Britain’s Robbie Grabarz.
One of the most highly-anticipated match-ups will be the women’s 200M race, where reigning 100 and 200M Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica is to line up against last year’s Diamond Race winner and world champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands.
The men’s 400M also promises to be a thriller as London Olympic gold medallist Kirani James and Beijing Games champion LaShawn Merritt go head to head.
The women’s 800M will witness a close contest between Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui while the 3,000M steeplechase will see the likes of Ruth Jebet, Hyvin Kiyeng and Emma Coburn battling for top honours.