Doha serves up sweet early season clashes

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Annsert Whyte,Megan Simmonds,Natoya Goule,LaShawn Merritt ,Elaine Thompson,Dafne Schippers,IAAF Doha Diamond League,Andre De Grasse,Asafa Powell,Justin Gatlin,

Photo: Elaine Thompson will square off with main rival Dafne Schippers in the 200m at the IAAF Doha Diamond League Meet today.

 

 

 

 

The 2017 outdoors track and field season springs to life today with the IAAF Doha Diamond League Meet taking centre stage. There are some tantalizing matchups to whet the appetite of track and field fans the world over ahead of what is expected to be yet another exciting year for the sport.

The men’s 100m sees one of track and field’s fastest rising stars, Canadian Andre De Grasse lining up against veterans Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis, the USA’s Justin Gatlin and Jamaica’s sub-10 King, Asafa Powell. Also in the race are Ronnie Baker of the USA, Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast, Femi Ogunode of Qatar and Akani Simbine of South Africa. De Grasse is seen by some as the man who will take over from the legendary Jamaican Usain Bolt and a win over this field could go a far way in proving that point.

The women’s 200m will get its fair share of attention as Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers the gold and silver medalists from the Rio 2016 Olympics face each other for the first time since the Jamaican Thompson won. Schippers has since changed her coach and is expecting better things this season while Thompson has enjoyed a fantastic start to her season ahead of the World Champions in London this summer. Two other Jamaicans, Veronica Campbell-Brown the 2011 gold medal winner in Daegu and Simone Facey will also face the starter’s gun.

A star-studded field will entertain the crowd in the men’s 400m led by LaShawn Merritt and his fellow countrymen, Tony McQuay and Vernon Norwood. The Americans will battle Botswana’s Karabo Sibanda Luguelin Santos on Dominica Republic, Pavel Maslac of the Czech Republic, Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas and Liemarvin Bonevacia of the Netherlands.

Ethiopian middle distance super star Genzebe Dibaba who has dominated the 1500m and 3000m has decided to take on a new challenge in track and field and makes her competitive debut in the women’s 800m where she will face South African Caster Semenya, the Kenyan pair of Eunice Jeokoech Sum and Margaret Nyairera Wambui and her teammate Habitam Alemu. Jamaica’s Natoya Goule will also feature in this race.

Kendra Harrison leads four Americans into the women’s 100m hurdles raced which will also feature Jamaican Olympic semifinalist Megan Simmonds.

Annsert Whyte who was a finalist in the men’s 400m hurdles in Rio will go up against the likes of L.J. Van Zyl of South Africa and gold medalist Kerron Clement of the USA in the one-lap obstacle race.

Other events to be contested on the day are, the men’s 1500m, 3000m, high jump, triple jump and javelin, while for the women there are the 3000m steeplechase, pole vault and shot put.