31-year-old Obiri, Olympic 5000m silver medallist in Rio 2016, is an experienced competitor with three world track titles dating back to 2012 (two outdoor, one indoor). She is also the reigning World Cross Country champion and Commonwealth Games champion over 5000m.
Gidey, silver medallist over 10,000m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, is a prodigious young talent. A former world under-20 cross country champion (2015 and 2017), she finished third behind Obiri in the senior race at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships. In October 2020, she broke the world 5000m record in Valencia (14:06.62).
“I’m happy to start my season in Doha,” said Gidey, the Ethiopian national record holder for 3000m (8:20.27). “It will be my first race as a world record holder and I feel excited to see where I am in terms of condition. It will be a very important stepping stone towards the Olympic Games later in the season.”
Obiri - who defeated Gidey in their most recent clash (over 5000m) at the 2020 Monaco Diamond League in a time of 14:22.12 - said: “After my half marathon debut in April (she ran 1:04:51 in Istanbul) I’m looking forward to getting back on the track, especially at the Doha Diamond League meeting where I will be going for my fourth 3000m win. I ran the Kenyan record there in 2014 (8:20) and the second fastest 3000m in my career there last September (8:22).
“Doha is also the place where I won my last World Championships title in 2019, but this year it is all about the Olympic Games as that is the only major gold medal that I’m missing and I’m working hard to change that this year. The 3000m and 5000m races are very competitive at the moment and I expect we will see some fast times in the next few months and in Tokyo.”
The 2021 Wanda Diamond League comprises 14 meetings - starting with Gateshead (replacing Rabat as the first host city on this year’s circuit) on Sunday 23 May - leading to a single final across two days in Zurich at the end of the season. 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.