Doha Diamond League: When, what and who to watch out for

Reigning Olympic and world champions set sights on a winning start to the season at the World Athletics event in Qatar.

Mutaz Barshim
Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim will be hoping to repeat his global success in the high jump as he competes on home ground [David J Phillip/AP Photo]

What: Diamond League Doha

Where: Qatar Sports Club, Doha, Qatar

When: Friday, May 5, 6pm (15:00 GMT)

The world’s top track and field athletes are raring to go as the athletics season gets under way at the Diamond League in Doha on Friday.

After hosting the FIFA World Cup last year, Qatar has a busy sports calendar for 2023 and the star-studded Diamond League is one of the key events.

Among the athletes eyeing the finish line in the Qatari capital are 15 reigning world and Olympic champions.

The event will kick off the Diamond League season, the elite World Athletics competition held annually at 14 different venues.

Neeraj Chopra
India’s Neeraj Chopra made his breakthrough at the Tokyo Olympics and took silver in the men’s javelin at the World Athletics Championships last year [Gregory Bull/AP Photo]

Who to watch out for

  • Mutaz Barshim, high jump (Qatar)
  • Faith Kipyogen, 1,500m (Kenya)
  • Shericka Jackson, 100m (Jamaica)
  • Andre de Grasse, 200m (Canada)
  • Soufiane El-Bakkali, 3,000m (Morocco)
  • Neeraj Chopra, javelin throw (India)
  • Fred Kerley, 200m (USA)
  • Katie Moon, pole vault (USA).

India’s Chopra, who shot to stardom following his gold-medal finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, will make his Diamond League Doha debut and has already set his sights on breaking the 90-metre barrier in the men’s javelin event.

“Doha is known for its 90-metre throws, so it will be a great competition for all of us,” he said ahead of the event.

Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim, who is the first and only athlete to win gold for Qatar in athletics, says the World Cup helped raise the country’s profile with sports fans from across the world.

His own success, he says, has inspired young athletes in the country.

“When I train, children come up to me and say ‘we want to be like you’, and I urge them to make the most of the facilities they have at their disposal,” Barshim told Al Jazeera.


Track: 100m (women), 200m (men), 400m (women), 800m (men), 1,500m (women), 100m hurdles (women), 400m hurdles (men), 3,000m (men), 3,000m steeplechase (women)

Field: Pole vault (women), discus throw (men), javelin throw (men), high jump (men), triple jump (men)

Faith Kipyegon
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon won the gold in the women’s 1,500 metres at the World Athletics Championships in 2022 [Gregory Bull/AP Photo]

‘To believe in yourself when you’re struggling… it can be tough’

The world’s top athletes talk about finding inspiration ahead of a new season, inspiring the younger generation and the mental struggle of sport.

Mutaz Barshim: “I am at a different stage of my life, in my career, even though you know where you are. But deep down you don’t know because you always surprise yourself. There’s always that extra that you’re trying to reach and grab.”

Faith Kipyegon: “When I want to take my mind off sport, I spend time with my daughter and go to the farms.”

Neeraj Chopra: “Since I won gold at Tokyo, there has been a change in the Indian sporting culture. The young generation and the juniors are taking up sports. We have a few javelin throwers coming up in India.”

Katie Moon: “Pole vault is 90 percent mental and then the rest of it’s physical. It’s a very mental sport. And I think all track and field events are mental in some way. So it’s easy when it’s going well to believe in yourself, but to believe in yourself when you’re struggling a little bit – it can be tough.”

Source: Al Jazeera