Qatar's Abderrahman Samba and Mutaz Barshim in Doha (© AFP / Getty Images)
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Abderrahman Samba will get their 2023 Wanda Diamond League campaigns under way on home soil when they compete in the season opener in Doha on 5 May.
Barshim won a third world high jump title in Oregon last year, adding another honour to a CV that includes the joint Olympic crown he claimed alongside Gianmarco Tamberi in Tokyo.
The Olympic Games final in Tokyo was Samba’s most recent 400m hurdles race, the 2019 world bronze medallist having injured his hamstring while warming up for the Doha event last May. That injury ruled him out for the whole of 2022.
“Whenever I step on the track, I always want to give my best, that has been the case since my first Diamond League appearance back in Doha, 2011,” said Barshim, who set the Asian high jump record of 2.43m – placing him No.2 on the world all-time list – in 2014.
“High jump is my passion and I want to make sure that my name is mentioned whenever high jump is mentioned. I’ve made history being on top of my game for the past decade, but I still thrive for more. The 2023 season is about to begin, and I have set my own goals and targets to chase. The World Championships in Budapest and the Asian Games in China are my top targets for the season.
“It’s important that I prioritise my health and stay consistent with a routine that works for me,” he added. “My training in Qatar went smoothly over the winter and I look forward to my Wanda Diamond League season opener in Doha."
Samba set his Asian 400m hurdles record of 46.98 in 2018 – a time that places him fifth on the world all-time list.
“The Doha Meeting will be my first major competition since Tokyo 2021 and will provide a good starting point as I build towards the World Championships this summer,” said Samba. “I was in good shape this time last year and I was disappointed to miss out on the World Championships, but I’ve had a consistent block of training and I’m healthy and ready to race.
“The 400m hurdles is one of the most exciting events on the programme right now and I want to be back in the mix.”
The 2023 Wanda Diamond League calendar includes a total of 14 meetings, starting with the event in Doha and concluding with the two-day final in Eugene on 16-17 September.