DOHA, Qatar (Sporting Alert) — The 2013 IAAF Diamond League kicks off on Friday night with the opening meet of the campaign at the Hamad Bin Suhaim Stadium in Doha.
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Several Olympic and World champions will line up for the opener, as they continue preparation for this summer’s IAAF World Athletics Championship in Moscow.
Among the expected highlighted clashes on the schedule are that of Botswana’s World champion Amantle Montsho against London Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix of USA in the women’s 400m and the 800m clash between Olympic champion and World record-holder David Rudisha against Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman.
Felix-Montsho Sets Up Exciting Clash
Montsho currently holds the world-leading mark of 50.14 seconds and she faces Felix, who will start unbeaten in 10 races in Doha since making her first appearance in 2005.
It is expected to be a very exciting match, with Montsho holding the upper hand after getting the better of her American rival on the last two occasions.
Great Britain’s 2008 Olympic champion and reigning silver medallist from the London Games, Christine Ohuruogu, who finished second at the Jamaica International Invitational last Saturday is also entered in the event, so too are American Natasha Hastings and Jamaica’s Shericka Williams.
Fraser-Pryce Still Learning The 200m
Two-time Olympic Games 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce highlight the list of sprinters who will face the starter in the women’s 200m dash.
Fraser-Pryce, who copped a silver medal at this event over last summer’s London Games, is coming off a 22.38 seconds seasonal best winning performance at the Jamaica Invitational last weekend and faces Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, who is the current world-leader with 22.31.
“I just want to execute a good 200m and see what is the best I can do,” Fraser-Pryce said at the 2013 Doha press conference on Thursday.
“The 200m is not my best event and it’s something I am learning. It is a new challenge.
“I didn’t used to like it because I found it difficult to distribute the speed all the way round. I am learning the best strategy and I am looking forward to the Moscow World Championships.”
Fast Men’s 800m on The Cards
Meanwhile, Kenyan Rudisha, who holds the 800m world record at a staggering 1:40.91, opens his campaign over the distance and will test his training against a young Ethiopian, Aman, the only man to have beaten him in the last couple of seasons.
“I am always willing to become better and there is always room for improvement,” Aman said. “I trained hard in my country Ethiopia and I feel confident ahead of the new season.
“Hopefully I will find the way to beat David Rudisha again. I have a plan but I am not going to reveal it. You will see me on the track!”
Another talented runner, 18-year-old Olympic bronze medallist Timothy Kitum of Kenya is also entered in the event, and with a personal best of 1:42.53, the same as Aman, he will certainly be one to look out for.
Gatlin And The Rest In The Dash
A fast time is on the cards for the men’s 100m dash, although none of the starters in this field have dipped under the 10-seconds barrier thus far this season.
Olympic bronze medallist Justin Gatlin of USA will start as the man to beat in Doha, but faces strong competition from Jamaican Nesta Carter, who finished second to Tyson Gay in Jamaica a week ago and American Mike Rodgers.
Gay leads the world with a flashing 9.86secs.
In other events on Friday, Yenew Alamirew of Ethiopia and Augustine Choge of Kenya, winners of the last two crowns in Doha, will battle in the men’s 3000m, while Milcah Chemos of Kenya will line up against Olympic silver medallist Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia and Ethiopia’s Sofia Assefa, who edged her out of the Olympic bronze medal place last year. Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia also starts in contention.
World-leader Dawn Harper-Nelson of USA heads the field in the women’s 100m hurdles, with countrywomen Lolo Jones, Kellie Wells and Queen Harrison and Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter also in the field.
Other athletes down for action are Brittney Reese of USA in the women’s Long Jump, world-leader Ryan Whiting in the men’s Shot Put, where he will go up against Tomasz Majewski of Poland and American Reese Hoffa, while Samyr Laine of Haiti and USA’s Christian Taylor compete in the men’s Triple Jump.