Diamond League: Barshim to lead Qatar's challenge

 01 May 2017 - 10:41

Diamond League: Barshim to lead Qatar's challenge
The General Secretary of Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) Mohammed Issa Al Fadala (centre), Assistant Director of National and Board Member of QAF, Khalid Rashid Al Marri (third right), retired Qatari sprinter Talal Mansour (second left), and other Qatari athletes at the Diamond League press conference held at Qatar Olympic Committee building yesterday. (Photo: Kammutty VP/The Peninsula)

The Peninsula

Qatar will compete with a strong 13-athlete line up at the Doha Diamond League, organisers of the event announced yesterday.

The line-up for the May 5 event at Qatar SC Stadium includes up and coming stars as well as experienced Olympians.

"Qatar’s own world-class athletes such as Mutaz Barshim, Ashraf Elseify and Ahmed Bedeir  will be competing against the best athletes from around the world," Dr Thani Al Kuwari, President of the Qatar Athletics Federation and Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee said during a media briefing here yesterday.

“The Doha Diamond League is the only IAAF Diamond League meeting in the Middle East and is one of the most exciting sporting events hosted annually in Qatar. We aim to organise the event to the highest possible standards and provide the very best conditions for athletes and spectators alike,” he added.

For Qatar’s two-time Olympic medallist Barshim, the Doha Diamond League will provide an opportunity to see his form coming out of winter training, as well as have some fun in front of the home-crowd.

Barshim jumped just two centimetres short of the world-record in 2014 and will no doubt have his sights firmly set on Javier Sotomayer’s 24-year-old world-record in the 2017 season, as well as the World Championship gold medal in August.

The Doha Diamond League is the only IAAF Diamond League meeting in the Middle East and is one of the most exciting sporting events hosted annually in Qatar.

”Femi Ogunode, who recently set the world lead in the 100m with 9.82 seconds in the Emir Athletics 2017 Cup in Doha in April, will lead Team Qatar’s track team along with his younger brother Tosin Ogunode (100m), Mohammed Nasir Abbas (400m), as well as Qatar’s Youth Olympic silver medallist Hamza Driouch (1,500m).

Qatar’s up-and-coming track sensation Abdulrahman Samba, together with team-mate Mohamed Shaib will compete against some of the fastest athletes in the world in the 400m hurdles event.

Twenty-two year-old Samba, cruised to victory in the Sasol-NWU International athletics meeting earlier in March in South Africa with 48.31 seconds. Qatar’s young Olympian and Aspire Academy graduate, 21-year-old Budir will be looking to continue his solid progress in the sport in a competition that features the Rio 2016 Olympic gold and silver medallists, Thomas Röhler and current World Champion Julius Yego. Budir set a personal best of 84.74 to qualify for Rio 2016 and has already qualified to the London 2017 World Championships in Athletics.

Commenting during a question and answer session at yesterday's media briefing, Budir said: “The level of the Doha Diamond League is very high as it is attended by the world’s greatest athletics stars, so the competition will be very tough. I have been training hard and cannot wait to compete and I hope to honour Qatar and make everyone proud,” he added.

Team Qatar’s female athletes will also be flying the flag high for Qatar with competitors in the Girls 100m and 4x100m relay. Aspiring sprinter Mariam Farid explained why she is exciting to compete in front of a home-crowd:

Commenting on Team Qatar, Secretary General of the Qatar Athletics Mohamed Al Adala said: “Our athletics team have been training very hard over the winter period since November, and the Doha Diamond League will be just their first or second appearance this season. We have a very talented team participating and we are confident that they will all achieve strong results and make Qatar proud. We wish them all the best.”

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