Mohammed Aman after winning the 800m at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha (© Deca Text & Bild)
Asbel Kiprop and Mohammed Aman will meet over 800m at the Doha 2015 meeting on 15 May while Allyson Felix will chase her 11th victory at the IAAF Diamond League meeting.
The trio are among the latest group of reigning global champions who will compete at the opening competition of the 14-meeting Diamond League series which gets underway for the sixth straight year in the Qatari capital.
Kiprop and Aman are familiar faces in Qatar. Kiprop has won both the 800m and 1500m in Doha, the former in 2011 and the latter at the meeting’s past two editions. His 3:29.18 performance last year was a meeting record, coming after winning his second world title over the distance.
“I love racing in Doha,” said Kiprop, who also took Olympic 1500m gold in 2008. “The fields are always strong and the conditions always very good for fast races. I hope to have another good performance this year. But it will be tough.”
Aman, who’ll have the vociferous support of Ethiopian fans who come out in force each year, is the world 800m champion both indoors and outdoors, and won over the distance in Doha last year.
The field will also include Nijel Amos of Botswana, the Olympic silver medallist.
Felix looking for third 200m win
Felix is even more familiar with Doha. The Olympic 200m champion will be gunning for her third victory on the Doha track over the distance.
“Starting my season in Doha is really a tradition for me, and I’m really looking forward to returning,” said Felix, whose 10 victories in Doha include three in the 100m, two in the 200m and five consecutively in the 400m from 2007 to 2011.
“I love running in Doha where we know the conditions will be just about perfect and the competition excellent.”
The three-time world 200m champion will face Ivory Coast's Murielle Ahoure, who took silver medals in the 100m and 200m at the 2013 IAAF World Championships.
The women’s 1500m will not be bereft of star power either. Leading the field will be Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, the world indoor and outdoor champion over the distance, who won the Diamond Race in the event in 2012 and 2013. Her 3:56.60 victory in Doha in 2013 was the fastest run in the world that year.
She’ll take on Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands. 2014 proved to be a stellar season for Hassan who won at the IAAF Continental Cup and the European Championships, where she defeated Aregawi, and was the fastest woman in the world.
Defending Kenyan pride will be Faith Kipyegon, the 2011 world youth and 2012 world junior champion, who clocked a sensational 3:56.98 personal best in Doha in 2013 behind Aregawi.
“These latest names show our commitment to bringing not only the best athletes to Doha, but to providing top-class rivalries and competition as well,” said Dahlan Al Hamad, President of the Qatar Athletics Federation.
“We know that the athletics world will be looking forward to the great men’s 800m race and Abeba Aregawi and Sifan Hassan once meeting in the 1500m.
“And of course, we’re always delighted to invite back Allyson Felix, who has thrilled, competed and won here already so many times,” he added.
Long jumper Brittney Reese returns to the scene of her 7.25m career best in 2013 to lead the field in her speciality.
The 28-year-old US athlete has won three straight world titles outdoors, the 2010 and 2012 world crowns indoors and the 2012 Olympic gold medal, along with back-to-back Diamond Race trophies in 2010 and 2011.
She’ll face compatriot Tianna Bartoletta, a former world indoor and outdoor champion who won the Diamond Race last season, and Serbia’s European indoor champion Ivana Spanovic.
Another athlete returning to familiar territory is Blanka Vlasic, a four-time high jump winner in Doha from 2007 to 2010.
Vlasic, twice both the world indoor and outdoor champion, and the 2010 and 2011 Diamond Race winner, will face European champion Ruth Beitia of Spain. Beitia, now 36, finished third at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, won by Vlasic.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September