DOHA, Qatar: The 30 days countdown has started on Wednesday for the 2019 IAAF Diamond League which will be held at the state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium on May 3.
IAAF Female Athlete of the Year Caterine Ibarguen (COL) will be one the top attractions as she is one of the six reigning world outdoor and Olympic champions to be confirmed across the first three events long jump, pole vault and 100m hurdles.
Other top names will be unveiled in the weeks leading up to the one-day spectacle.
The Khalifa International Stadium will launch the outdoor season in earnest and will also draw the curtain on the year when the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 are held at the same iconic sports venue from September 28 to October 6, the first time the IAAF World Championships will be staged in the Middle East.
“It gives us a great pleasure to announce that some of the leading names in the track and field world will be seen in action here. Qatar feels proud to host the names that matter in the track and field world,” said Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) President and Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Dr Thani Al Kuwari.
One of the standout clashes of the meeting will be the long jump which features two reigning Olympic champions Ibarguen and Tianna Bartoletta (USA). Ibarguen was beaten at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels last year and the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava and will be looking to begin the new season with a victory.
“I’m thrilled to launch my season in Doha,” said Ibarguen. “It is a country where athletics is popular and I am confident I can perform to the best of my abilities at the start of the season.”
The line-up also features Great Britain’s Shara Proctor, who won silver behind Bartoletta at the 2015 World Championships, and Australia’s Brooke Stratton who leads the 2019 world list with 6.74m.
The pole vault also features two reigning global outdoor champions: world champion Sam Kendricks from the United States and Olympic champion Thiago Braz from Brazil who returned to form during the indoor season with a 5.80m clearance.
Kendricks also competed extensively through the indoor season and finished top of the world indoor list with 5.93m alongside Poland’s world silver medallist Piotr Lisek who will launch his outdoor season in Doha.