Fraser-Pryce, Dibaba kick off Diamond League in Doha today

May 09, 2014 - 3:58:36 am
FROM LEFT): Warren Weir of Jamaica, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, also of Jamaica, Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia are seen at a news conference in Doha yesterday. 

DOHA: Jamaican sprinting starlet Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will headline an impressive line-up at the opening Diamond League meet in Doha today with unstoppable Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba also going in the women’s 3,000m.

Fraser-Pryce, the reigning two-time Olympic sprint champion who also claimed world 100m gold in Moscow last year, has arrived in the Qatari capital brimming with confidence after her podium-topping outing in the world indoor 60m in Poland in March.

After skipping a couple of meets, including the Penn Relays, on medical advice, Fraser-Pryce bounced back to win the 200m at the Kingston Invitational last week.

“My outdoor season has begun,” she said on her Facebook page.

“As an elite athlete I didn’t take kindly to resting for two weeks, because I believe I need to work hard and train consistently to perform well. But I rested.”

“So as always I just wanted to execute and see where I was and what needed to be worked on,” she said.

“The 200m came and I completed it in 22.53sec with quality athletes in the field. My number one priority after any race is to finish healthy and I did.

“It was assessment time in my head first and then to hear from my coach. Overall it was a good outing and I was pleased.

“I now look forward to competing in my first 100m in Doha and you know it will be exciting,” she said.

Fraser-Pryce will be one of 10 Olympic champions and a further 25 Olympic medallists poised to compete in the opening meet of the 14-leg Diamond League that travels to the United States, Asia and Europe.

Elsewhere on the track, Dibaba will aim to convert one of the most memorable indoor campaigns in recent memory to outdoors.

In a span of just five days in February, the 23-year-old Ethiopian shattered two world indoor records, first over 1500m in Karlsruhe, Germany, and then at 3000m in Stockholm.

Her 3:55.17 run in the 1500m knocked more than three seconds from the previous mark while her 8:16.60 performance in the Stockholm 3000m smashed the old record by more than seven seconds. 

It was the fastest performance the world has witnessed since 1993 indoors or outdoors; only three women have ever run faster, all outdoors. 

Dibaba then capped her indoor campaign with a world 3000m title in Sopot to further move out of much-decorated sister Tirunesh’s shadow, and looks set to be a daunting challenge for all-comers this season, fitness notwithstanding.

Another outstanding female athlete on show will be New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, the dominant figure in women’s athletics and shot put.

The double Olympic champion also has four outdoor and three indoor world titles, and will arrive in Doha with a winning streak of 46 finals, having not lost a competition since August 2010.

In the absence of Usain Bolt, Jamaican teammate Warren Weir will be the star attraction in the men’s 200m, compatriots Nickel Ashmeade and Rasheed Dwyer also in the line-up.

Missing the opening meet of the elite track and field, however, is 800m Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha, out with a calf muscle injury.

“I’m very disappointed not to be able to race in Doha,” the Kenyan said in a statement released by the orgnaisers. AFP