I thought this would be a little different but I’m going to try and give my insight and ideas about who will do well/win their respected events at the Doha Diamond League 2018.
Women’s Pole Vault
An interesting event to start the day off. There is the current Commonwealth champion in Alysha Newman and the Olympic and world champion in Katerina Stefanidi. Also competing in the world and Olympic runner-up in Sandi Morris. Between these three athletes, the top three should be found out. I think Morris has had a good indoor season and can put that form into winning this event but it should be a tight competition for the top three
I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan of discus (mainly cause I was horrible at it) but this contest looks interesting on personal bests. A small field is entered but it looks high quality with two meters spanning between the top 6 athletes personal best. The inform athlete is Dani Stevens who is coming from a Commonwealth Games gold medal as well as the record. Obviously, the reigning Olympic and World champ Sandra Perkovic will be there or thereabouts too. I think the outdoor form of Stevens could get her the win.
Men’s Triple Jump
This event will be pretty closely contested and full of energy as always. For me, the winner seems straightforward in Christian Taylor since he is world and Olympic champion but he has the possibility of an off night. If that happens his challenges can come from Pichardo whos PB is the only other athlete over 18m. Also, Dong, Copello, and Bernard can also push for minor spots for this event.
Men’s High Jump
I’m excited about this event because Barshim has come out and said he will be going on the record here. He is the best jumper in the field and is aided by his home fans. He will be doing his best here to get the crowd behind him. If the winner isn’t Barshim then the only other challenger in my eyes is Protsenko who has a PB of 2.40m which is close to Barshim if he doesn’t seem to fire in front of his home crowd.
This race has got a real classy field with all runners being around 44 seconds so everyone will seem to be pushed. For me, the winner is going to be the current Commonwealth champion in Issac Makwala. His form this year is very good and he has broken 44 seconds before. His challengers will come in the names of Thebe and also Gardiner who both are close to the low end of 44 seconds or if not under the 44-second mark. This race should produce some good times if people are running close to last season.
This race also has attracted a good field. There is some close to 4-minute runners here like Semenya, Arafi, Sado, Hall, Tsegay, Sum, Chebet, Jepkosgei, and majority of the field are under the 4:10 mark. For me, the winner is Caster Semenya purely because of her dominance. She did the 800m/1500m double at the Commonwealth Games and the new IAAF ban for testosterone levels has not be implemented yet. Semenya would want to make her mark in this race and really try and show the world that she has the making to be the best 1500m runner in the world along with her 800m credentials. In the minors, I think Linden Hall could run well as well as Tsegay who has the form and then next best PB in the field (apart from Chebet who is out of form currently.
This race has some real credentials to be a very tight 100m race with all the girls PB’s spanning 0.3 of a second between all 8 runners. Athletes like Ta Lou, Ahoure and Okagbare will all get out fast with Schippers and Thompson being just behind them at the gun. Finally with Levy, Horn and Kamundji all racing this season who all have powerful midsections it will be a race that could come down to the camera. I think Okagbare could win this as a dark horse. SHe has rarely been far away from medals at a major championship and this race looks like a race she can really make a statement. Traditionally Ahoure runs well in her opening few races of the season so I think she will get a minor placing as well as Thompson looking to bounce back from a somewhat disappointing opening run this season.
Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
In an event that has been dominated by Kenyans in recent years means that there is no surprise that there are 8 entered in this race. For me, the best three chances for the Kenyan runners are Kemboi, Yego, and Nganga who all were improving as last season came to an end. All runners will be looking to be there near the bell lap. Aside from the Kenyans Chemutai, Beyo and Amare all have run this season which will give them a bit of confidence over the last few laps. Chemutai’s last race effort was impressive since he gained a PB so early on in the season. The top three I think will be Yego, Kemboi and Beyo with the others mentioned being dropped in the final laps.
I’m looking forward to the return of Vetter vs Rohler rivalry in the Diamond League. Both men are as close to the javelin record as someone has been for a decade so their performances are something special. If both athletes are in there prime then it will be a good competition but I think the more seasoned Vetter will overturn Rohler for this opener. For third I think the Kenyan Yego can make up the minor placings or Hofmann will make it a German sweep of the podium.
Men’s 400m Hurdles
This is another event where there is not too much separating the field. All hurdlers here have been in the game for a long time so they all know what it takes to run this race well. In saying that, I wouldn’t put it past many of them to go out too hard out of competitiveness and then tire up in the end because of the opening run. For that reason, I think McMaster will win this event because he looked so strong running his 48.25 a few weeks ago. Samba could run a well-executed race for the locals and fill a minor placing alongside Clement or Copello. This race is very wide open which will make an exciting viewing.
Sadly this race might be overshadowed by the Kiprop scandal coming out to the media this week but the race itself has some real depth too. I’m assuming Rotich will do his customary pace-making duties for the field and keep an honest tempo too. Birgen and Cheboi will both be looking to get near Rotich and see if they have the legs in the last 300m. Iguider will be just behind them with Williamz, Manangoi, and Kibet all through the middle. Near the end, you might expect to see Gregson, Soget and El Kaam all backing there kick near the end. I think this race could be run in around 3:35 plus change if the pace was kept honest. I think Iguider will win with Birgen and Kibet in the minors. Also look out for the Aussie duo both who have had a few races under there belt looking to be finishing hard.
Women’s 100m Hurdles
This field is much like the 100m field with only 0.4 of a second spanning the field. In this race, you have Kendra Harrison who holds the world record as well as all women all being in a final of a major championship. With hurdles, anything goes and I think McNeal will be the winner here simply because she has run a 12.43 this season and will have a bit more race fluency over the jumps. In second will be Harrison because she will be looking to come back stronger after a disappointing last year. Third I think will go to the Jamaican, Williams again because she has run over the hurdles and has a swift PB of 12.56 which she set last year.
This race interests me a lot because of the names that are in it like Som, Murphy, Kszczot, Korir, Kipkoech, and Bett. All these athletes can run 1:42-1:44 but its more a matter of how race fit they are. Out of those names, Murphy is the only one who has raced but no doubt Bett, Kszczot and Korir all are going to be ready too. If it is a fast lap early then I would think it is Kszczot’s race for the winning but if it is slow then I think Bett will win this because of his youthfulness and he is slowly beginning to get his pacing right. I will go with Bett to win this, with Kszczot and Korir in the minors but Som or Kipkoech could also pop up too in a tight finish.
For me, the long-awaited return of Andre De Grasse excites me. He’s been off injured for a while and after what he showed in Rio I think he will be the one to fill Bolt’s shoes as the worlds best sprinter come Olympic year. DeGrasse will win but I think Dwyer and Richards will push him to the line. The latter is also in form winning the Commonwealth Games last month over the distance. Lyle’s and McLeod’s performance will also be interesting as they are both new to the 200m scene full time so they could also be in the race with 30m to go or so.
To close the night’s race is a very tricky race to choose. The 3000m is a perfect opportunity for all runners to either test their endurance (1500m runner) or test there speed work (5000m + runners). For me, Obiri is the winner both on form and on paper. She has been a powerhouse in major events either winning them or finishing with a medal. She won the Commonwealth games over 5000m and she meets the majority of her competitors again tonight. Tirop interests me because she is known more for the 10000m and her speed might not be there but she has recorded an 8:35 which is in the top 5 best PB’s of the field. Also, you cannot discount Jenny Simpson or Eilish McColgan from this race too. Both have been in good form up to this race as well. Obiri for me wins followed by Simpson and Tirop both filling the minor spots. I do think this race will be fast paced with a lot of the longer runners looking tot he strength training and trying to hold off the faster finishers.
Finally, from me, I want to put a disclaimer out that this is my opinion and my own idea of how the races could go. This meet has attracted some high-quality races and very good quality athletes which is really awesome to see. The Doha conditions are looking good so as a spectator I am looking forward to some good racing and fast times ahead. Leave a comment or message if you agree or disagree with my choices.
Happy running and spectating