Dafne Schippers winning the 200m at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels (© Giancarlo Colombo)
World champion Dafne Schippers will compete in the 100m at the Doha 2016 meeting on 6 May in what promises to be one of the most anticipated events at the opening competition of the IAAF Diamond League series.
Schippers won the world 200m title in Beijing last year with a European and championship record of 21.63, elevating the 23-year-old Dutchwoman all the way up to third on the world all-time list in what was just her second season as a sprint specialist.
“I have heard so many great things about Doha, about the competition and about the fast track,” said Schippers, who earned silver in the 100m at the World Championships last year in a PB of 10.81, two years after taking bronze in the heptathlon at the 2013 World Championships. “As always, though, the entire field will be very strong.”
Schippers will take on USA’s world bronze medallist Tori Bowie, 2013 world 100m and 200m silver medallist Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast, and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica.
There will also be a stellar field in the men's 110m hurdles, which is led by Jamaica’s world indoor champion Omar McLeod and USA’s Olympic champion and world record-holder Aries Merritt.
“As a fan of the sport, I am always amazed by the sprints and hurdles field assembled in Doha,” said McLeod, who has a PB of 12.97. “I am excited to be a part of the 2016 constellation and look forward to the event.”
Merritt underwent kidney transplant surgery just four days after taking bronze at last year’s World Championships. Despite running with just 20% kidney function, his 13.04 performance in Beijing was the fastest since his 12.80 world record in 2012.
David Oliver of the US will return looking for a fourth Doha victory. The 33-year-old 2013 world champion set the current meeting record of 12.95 in 2008.
World silver medallist Hansle Parchment, world indoor bronze medallist Dimitri Bascou and two-time European silver medallist Garfield Darien will also line up for the 110m hurdles.
The women’s 400m hurdles field is led by two-time world champion Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic. The 29-year-old Olympic bronze medallist will be targeting the 54.27 meeting record set by Ionela Tirlea-Manolache in 1999.
She’ll face world indoor 400m champion Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain, who won this event in Doha two years ago, Jamaica’s four-time Diamond Race winner Kaliese Spencer, USA’s world bronze medallist Cassandra Tate and Danish record-holder Sara Petersen.
In the men’s 200m, the spotlight will fall on home favourite Femi Ogunode who will be targeting a solid early season start on home turf.
“I really want to give local fans a Diamond League win for Qatar at home,” said Ogunode, who finished seventh in the event at the World Championships last year. The 2014 world indoor bronze medallist clocked 9.91 in the 100m in June last year and capped his campaign with a 19.97 victory in Brussels, both Asian records.
Panama’s two-time Diamond Race winner Alonso Edward is also in the field, along with Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade, who won in Doha in 2014.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL