DOHA: Top shot putters will be seen in action at the Doha Diamond League — the first stage of the IAAF Diamond League 2019 — here on May 3.
The event came to a climax in the Zurich Diamond League where reigning world indoor and outdoor champion Tom Walsh from New Zealand reached out to a second-round effort of 22.60m to eclipse the Diamond League record by four centimetres.
“Breaking the Diamond League record in Zurich to win the Diamond League title was one of the highlights of my season. I’ve very high expectations this year as well. I’ve been pleased with my performances so far in 2019,” said Walsh.
Walsh holds the world outdoor lead with 21.91m from the Australian Championships where he participated as a guest but the calibre of the field is such that a throw in excess of this mark could be needed to secure victory and maximum points next month.
“I expect a very tough competition at the Khalifa International Stadium. I think I will have to throw over 22 metres,” said Walsh. “I feel ready and I’m sure we will put on another great show for the crowd in Doha.”
His principal rival will be the reigning Olympic champion Ryan Crouser from the United States who threw 22.53m last year. They competed against each other nine times in 2018 with Crouser leading their head-to-head 5-4.
“This will be my first time in Doha and I am excited to throw in the Khalifa International Stadium. My two indoor competitions went very well and I am ready to put out some big throws outdoors,” said Crouser, who threw 22.33m in his first competition of the season at the Millrose Games in New York.
The line-up also features 2017 Diamond League champion Darrell Hill from the United States - who finished second to Walsh in Zurich last year with 22.40m - and Darlan Romani from Brazil who improved his South American record to 22.00m in 2018.
The European challenge is headed by reigning European indoor and outdoor champion Michal Haratyk and world indoor bronze medallist Tomas Stanek who both set national records last season. Haratyk set an outright Polish record of 22.08m while Stanek improved the Czech record to 22.17m during the indoor season.