Doha, Qatar: Reigning Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta of the USA and Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the European 100m and 200m champion, took a break from their training during an impressive photo-shoot at the iconic National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) on Tuesday.
With two days to go until the IAAF Doha Diamond League - the first stage of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League series, which will take place at the state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium for the first time on May 3 - the stars posed for different shots at the newly-opened 430,000 square feet (40,000 m2) museum, which was inspired by the Desert Rose mineral formation and designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.
The event also provided an opportunity for the stars to share their wealth of experience with the upcoming local female athletes as they gave out advice on various related topics to an audience which included javelin throwers Salha Al Ali, Moda Al Ali and Al Dana Al Ali, high jumper Al Jauihra Al Ali and sprinter Kinda Moussa.
“I’m obviously delighted to be here and to start my season in Doha. This is my first time participating in the Doha Diamond League and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far,” said Asher-Smith, the British record holder in the 100m and 200m (10.85 and 21.89 respectively), who also ended 2018 as world number-one in both events.
She added that the Doha weather is a welcome change from that of London and hopes to get used to the climate in time for the IAAF World Championships which takes place in the Qatari capital later in the year.
“I’m looking forward to my first major run of the year on Friday with the 200m and my main aim is to run as fast as possible, but the most important target for me this year is participating in the World Championship.
"Medals and records may come later but participating in the World Championships is my top priority,” said the 23-year-old.
She added that she counted it a rare privilege to be considered a role model and a source of inspiration for the young female athletes.
“I see myself as someone who is just doing her thing but I’m happy to be thought of as an inspiration to others. It is really humbling to know that people are looking up to you and your actions can affect others in one way or the other.
"My hope is to continue to live up to expectations especially for the upcoming female athletes,” added the 4x100m relay silver medallist at the 2017 World Championships in London.
For three-time Olympic gold medallist Bartoletta, coming to Doha always leaves her with happy memories and she is delighted to be back again.
“The 2019 Diamond League for me is like a dress rehearsal for the IAAF World Championships in August and I’m here to give my best,” said the American who women's long jump at the 2015 IAAF World Outdoor Championships, with a personal best distance of 7.14 meters, 10 years after her first global triumph.
“I’m presently focusing more on my sprinting techniques so that I can have more good jumps and hopefully break records ahead of the August event,” she added.
Bartoletta who won the long jump at the 2015 Doha Diamond League, advised upcoming female athletes to be dedicated and be totally committed to their discipline if they want to make a success out of it.
“Above all, learn to enjoy yourself and be yourself. Let nobody sets limits for you because you are only limited by your thinking. Give life your best shot and try something new and break barriers.”
The long jump at the 2019 IAAF Doha Diamond League promises to be one of the most interesting events as Bartoletta clashes with Columbia’s Olympic triple jump champion, Caterine Ibarguen and Shara Proctor of Britain, the 2015 world outdoor silver medallist, for the crown on Friday.