DOHA, Qatar (April 18) — Some of the world’s best sprinters are set to compete at the Seashore Group Doha Meeting on Friday, 5 May, with Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse headlining the field, meeting organizers revealed on Tuesday. De Grasse will face off with world 400m champion Michael Norman and his American countrymen –world 100m champion and Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley and Olympic and world 200m silver medallist Kenny Bednarek.
Andre De Grasse Prepares For Battle After Switch Coaches
De Grasse, a six-time Olympic medalist and the Tokyo Games 200m gold medalist, struggled with injuries in the build-up to the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last summer due to injury and illness.
After failing to make progress to the final of the 100m in Oregon and withdrawing from the 200m, as his rivals enjoyed individual success, the 28-year-old Canadian returned to lead a strong quartet to gold in the men’s 4x100m relay, setting a national record of 37.48 seconds.
Fast forward a year later and De Grasse is now focused on a return to the podium later this summer in Budapest in August, and he will be guided by a new coach John Coghlan, after parting company with his former coach Rana Reider.
“While it was special to win the relay in Eugene, I’ve got unfinished business at the Worlds,” the sprint star said on the Doha Diamond League website. “Everything about my setup is still pretty new, but I’m grateful after a tough 2022 that we’ve got time to figure things out and prepare well, and I’m excited to get back on the track in Doha against some of the best guys on the circuit.”
Kerley, Norman, and Bednarek To Challenge De Grasse For Title?
The Canadian record, who owns a personal best of 19.62 seconds in the 200m, will square off with world 100m champion Kerley, who has a legal best of 19.76 for 200m, clocked a windy 19.75 to finish runner-up to eventual world champion Noah Lyles at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Doha 2022.
In that race, De Grasse finished fourth in 20.15 secs, and he will be aiming to improve on that performance this year.
Meanwhile, Bednarek, who has a lifetime best of 19.68, also got the better of De Grasse in Doha in 2021 when the pair crossed the finish line first and second, respectively. The American has made the podium in the last two global championships –having won silver medals in the 200m at worlds and the Olympics.
Michael Norman, the reigning world champion and former World Junior Championships 200m champion, heads into this high-profile clash with a personal best of 19.70, set at the Diamond League meeting in Rome in 2019.
The versatile American sprinter has decided to make a switch to the shorter sprints this season and will be hoping for a positive performance in Qatar.
In the meantime, the men’s 200m at the 2023 Doha Meeting will also feature Liberian Joseph Fahnbulleh, the NCAA champion over 100m and 200m and national record holder (19.83). The former University of Florida sprinter, who finished fourth over 200m at the World Championships last year, has already shown good form this season, clocking 9.98 seconds to set a new personal best in the 100m at the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville, Florida, on 15 April and breaking 10-seconds for the first time.
Additionally, Andrew Hudson of Jamaica, the 2022 NACAC champion over 200m who owns a PB of 19.87, will also compete in the event.