12 reigning world champions - and a host of Olympic and world medallists - will compete at the Qatar Sports Club and event highlights are expected to include the women’s pole vault, 3000m SC, triple jump and discus and the men’s 1500m.
Women’s pole vault
In a stacked field deserving of a global pole vault final, Anzhelika Sidorova (ANA), Sandi Morris (USA) and Katerina Stefanidi (Greece) - the World Championships podium trio - will be reunited in the Qatari capital.
Sidorova, who won the world title in a lifetime best of 4.95m, is a two-time world indoor silver medallist (2014 and 2018). She was European outdoor champion in 2014 and European indoor champion in 2015 and 2019.
Morris - Olympic silver medallist in Rio 2016 - was runner-up to Sidorova in Doha 2019 and to Stefanidi in London 2017. She won the World Indoor title in 2018.
Stefanidi is the reigning Olympic champion. She backed up her Rio gold with a World Championship title in London 2017, but had to settle for bronze in Doha two years later.
In addition to the World Championships medallists, the impressive Doha line-up includes Canadian national record holder and Commonwealth Games champion Alysha Newman; European Indoor champion Angelica Moser (Switzerland); and British record holder and European Indoor Championships bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw.
Women’s 3000m steeplechase
Beatrice Chepkoech (Kenya), the reigning world champion and world record holder, will return to Doha alongside Emma Coburn (USA) and Gesa Felicitas Krause (Germany) - second and third respectively in the 2019 World Championships - for a thrilling rematch.
Chepkoech, who finished third over 3000m in the 2020 Wanda Doha Diamond League, has already enjoyed success this year, most notably when achieving a 5k (road) world record in Monaco (14:43) and an indoor personal best for 3000m (8:31.72), both in February. Her 3000m SC world record, also achieved in Monaco (2018), is an incredible 8:44.32.
Coburn, Olympic bronze medallist in Rio and 2017 world champion, has a 3000m SC best of 9:02.35 from the 2019 World Championships. She recorded an indoor personal best over 3000m this year clocking 8:39.19 in New York, and ran 15:24.76 for 5000m in February – her fastest time ever over the distance. More recently, she clocked 4:04.28, just outside her PB, to finish fourth at the Track Meet in California.
Krause is the German national record holder in the 3000m SC courtesy of her World Championships bronze medal-winning performance in 2019 (9:03.30). She raced extensively throughout the 2021 indoor season and opened her outdoor season with a 2:05.76 800m in Germany on 21 May. She will compete in her first 3000m SC of the year in Doha as she prepares for her third Olympic Games this summer.
Women’s triple jump
In a ‘who’s who’ of women’s triple jumping, the incredible field includes the top three from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Reigning Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen - the Columbian national record holder with a best of 15.31m - is a former world champion and multiple world medallist including bronze in 2019. She will open her summer campaign in Doha.
Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela) was Olympic silver medallist in Rio but took the world titles in Doha and in London 2017. An in-form athlete, she jumped a personal best of 15.43m in Spain on 22 May - the furthest jump in the world this year to date and the second furthest of all time - and without doubt starts as favourite.
Olga Rypakova, gold medallist in London 2012, is the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and the Kazakhstan national record holder with a best of 15.25m dating back to 2010.
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts finished second in the 2019 World Championships. She took victory in the Muller Grand Prix in Gateshead on 23 May with a best jump of 14.40m.
Double Olympic champion and multiple world medallist Sandra Perković (Croatia) heads a high quality discus field in Doha alongside world champion Yaimé Pérez (Cuba) and Olympic bronze medallist Denia Caballero (Cuba), the world silver medallist.
Perković, bronze medallist in Doha, is the Croatian national record holder (71.41m). She opened her 2021 outdoor season with a 65.25m effort in Split on 13 May.
Yaimé Pérez has a best of 69.39m from 2019. She’s competed domestically throughout 2021 with her most recent performance a season’s best of 68.99m – a performance good enough to rank her second in the world for the year to date.
Caballero is a former world champion (Beijing 2015) and has a personal best of 70.65m from that same year. She finished second to Pérez in their most recent competition in Cuba with a best of 60.88m.
World champion Timothy Cheruiyot - who has a 1500m best of 3:28.41 from 2018 - will return to the scene of his global triumph when he opens his season in Doha.
The 25-year-old Kenyan, who competed over 800m in last year’s Doha meeting, will relish the opportunity to return to his number one event and avenge his 2019 Diamond League performance where he finished second – his only defeat that year.
Adam Ali Musab, Qatar’s world-leading 1500m star and Stewart McSweyn, Australia’s 1500m national record holder, will also line up at the Qatar Sports Club.
Musab has made great strides over recent years, most recently clocking a 3:32.41 lifetime best – quick enough to take him to the top of the world rankings for 2021 to date – in Doha in February. The Asian Championships bronze medallist, who has already qualified to represent Qatar at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, finished ninth in last year’s Doha Diamond League in a then-personal best of 3:35.60. He finished eighth in challenging conditions in the Wanda Diamond League season opener in Gateshead in 3:43.80.
McSweyn, who was third in Gateshead in 3:37.32, has produced a host of impressive performances over the past 12 months including his 1500m national record which came with victory in the 2020 Doha Diamond League (3:30.51) and prior to that, a 3000m national record in Rome (7:28.02). He clocked an Australian all-comers’ record for the mile in December (3:50.61).
The loaded field also includes Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera, the world indoor 1500m champion, and Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, the 2019 world bronze medallist in the 3000m SC.
Unfortunately the stellar field in the women’s 100m has been hit with the withdrawls of reigning double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah (Jamaica) and Sha'Carri Richardson (USA).
Richardson - the fastest woman in the world this year - experienced cramping following her Diamond League debut in Gateshead on 23 May and with only three weeks to go until the US Olympic Trials, a precautionery decision has been made to return home to rest to avoid potential injury.
World 5000m record holder Letesenbet Gidey, who was due to line up in the women’s 3000m alongside world champion Hellen Obiri, has also withdrawn.
“It’s not easy to deliver high profile international events in the face of a global pandemic but I’m proud of the way our people have responded to this challenge and of the fantastic fields we’ve put together,” said Qatar Athletics Federation president, HE Dr. Thani Alkuwari. “We proved last year that in spite of challenging circumstances we could put on a fantastic meeting and I expect that to be case once again.”
The full start lists are available here.
The 2021 Wanda Diamond League comprises 14 meetings and started with Gateshead (which replaced Rabat as the first host city on this year’s circuit) on Sunday 23 May. A single final will be held across two days in Zurich at the end of the season (8/9 September). Each meeting will be broadcast globally in a live two-hour programme.
The 2021 calendar remains subject to change depending on the global health situation in the coming months.