Diamond League: Five rivalries to light up 2022 as Doha prepares for the inaugural meeting

Athing Mu Raevyn Rogers and Keely Hodgkinson
This year’s Diamond League concludes with a single final over two days in Zurich on September 7-8.
Venue of events: Qatar sports club Date: Friday, May 13 Weather: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app

The pandemic-forced postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has produced a backlog of quality athletics that shows no sign of clearing.

In the long term, last summer’s Games will be followed by two World Championships and another Olympic Games in three consecutive summers for a major event itinerary that reads Eugene 2022, Budapest 2023, Paris 2024.

In the medium term, this year contains a trio of major championships for British athletes with a Commonwealth Games in Birmingham coming home between a World Championship and a European Championship.

And in the short term, the Diamond League circuit starts this Friday in Doha, the earliest start date since the start of the pandemic.

The best in the world will warm up for a busy summer in weekly matchups across the globe.

These are some of the rivalries to choose from the starting lists.

men’s 100m

As the two rivals stood on the track and stared at the big screen in Belgrade after the 60m indoor world final in March, it took the judges more than a minute to separate Marcell Jacobs and Christian Coleman.

In the end, they could only find three thousandths of a second between the pair, 100m Olympic champion Jacobs in first place, 100m world champion Coleman in second.

They are also not new names on the scene. Coleman is 26, Jacobs is 27. But the rivalry is new.

Following his victory at Doha 2019, Coleman was suspended for 18 months for his repeated failure to attend anti-doping tests.

In his absence, Italian Jacobs, a former long jump specialist, shocked the world by taking gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

After their loss in Belgrade, Coleman was asked if their rivalry was the “next big thing”.

“Yes I think so,” he told Athletics Weekly. external link

It’s one of the most intriguing stories of the season as Coleman looks to retain his title at home in Oregon in July.

women’s 200m

Elaine Thompson-Herah, Dina Asher-Smitha, and Christine Mboma
Elaine Thompson-Herah, Dina Asher-Smitha, and Christine Mboma

It takes something special to distract from a historic sprint double-double. But when Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah galloped toward gold in the 200 meters in Tokyo last summer, it was hard to ignore what was happening behind her.

Christine Mboma of Namibia had been sixth when reaching the last 70 metres.

The 18-year-old, who had been excluded from her favorite 400 and 800 meters due to high levels of natural testosterone, he was running in only his seventh senior race over the distance.

She seemed destined to take only experience from the Olympic final before a tremendous final surge carried her to silver.

Mboma suffered a thigh injury earlier this month, but it shouldn’t prevent her since the commercial end of the season.

Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah is hungrier than ever, her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce The season has started in very good shape and British world champion Dina Asher-Smith has returned from her own injury.

Don’t rule out the American challenge, either. Gabby Thomas was the second fastest woman in history when she ran 21.61 seconds in June at the same stadium that will host the World Championships in July.

It all adds up to a fascinating mix of stories and fast times.

women’s 800m

Keely Hodgkinson and Athing Mu
Keely Hodgkinson from GB and Athing Mu from USA.

“I feel like today was the United States against the United Kingdom.”

That was Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson’s assessment of an 800m Tokyo final in which she finished second behind American rival Athing Mu.

That red, white and blue tear could become a long-term feature of the circuit.

Hodgkinson recently turned 20, while Mu will do so in June.

Jemma Reekie, who finished fourth in Tokyo, and her training partner and 1500m Olympic silver medalist Laura Muir join the British challenge, while Raevyn Rogers completed the Tokyo podium for the United States.

Also keep an eye out for Jamaica’s Natoya Goule who may break the event’s transatlantic dominance.

women’s 1500m

Laura Muir and Sifan Hassan
Laura Muir and Sifan Hassan

Muir’s silver in Tokyo was the culmination of a career of near misses and hard work for the Scot. At the age of 29, could he open the doors for more?

Potentially. Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon, hailed by Muir as the best of all time in the event, has said that she plans to transition to the 5,000m.

Dutch world champion Sifan Hassan finished behind Muir in Tokyo but was running under a tremendous workload. It was the only leg of a three-pronged ranged assault that failed to deliver gold.

The relationship between Muir and Hassan has been strained in the past, with the Scot questioning Hassan’s decision to train with now-banned trainer Alberto Salazar while the American was under investigation.

However, as with Kipyegon, Muir could see less of Hassan on tour this year as his rival tries to his luck both on the road and on the track.

Meanwhile, another athlete returns to the event. After winning bronze at Doha 2019 ahead of Muir, Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay briefly climbed the 5000m in Tokyo.

But the 25-year-old won the 1500m indoor world title in Belgrade and has looked in ominous form so far this year.

male high jump

Gianmarco Tamberi
Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim

The rivalries are not much friendlier than that between Italian Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim.

The pair split the high jump title in Tokyo, rather than engage in a playoff with the winner taking gold.

Their truce was the mark of a friendship that spans years into less happy times.

They have comforted each other after both suffered ankle ligament damage in the run-up to major events in the past.

If they are in a situation similar to the Tokyo final again, they both say that now he would put friendship aside and duel for gold.

And they might well find themselves doing exactly that.

Russian Ilya Ivanyuk and Belarusian Maksim Nedasekau, the only other two men to jump 2.37m last year, are barred from participating in Diamond League and World Athletics events due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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