FIRST STAGE OF THE DIAMOND LEAGUE: Africa to grace the event
As has been the case since the creation of the Diamond League, the Doha meeting usually kicks off the outdoor season in spectacular style. Coinciding with an Olympic year, the event is even more important. African athletics would be represented both qualitatively and quantitatively. The organisers have put things in order. The invitations sent to Africa would definitely spark spectacular confrontation amongst the best African athletes. Observers will be closely watching the contest between 800m world champion and record man David Rudisha against 18-year old Mohammed Aman.. The youngster is a rising prospect for Ethiopian athletics which has struggled to find its feet in the 800m and 1500m distances for the past years. The Asella native hopes to destroy the plans of Rudisha at the Olympics. The Doha rendez-vous could just be an indication for what could happen in the season’s remainder. In the queen event of athletics, the 1500m, the battle would be tougher. Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki Khamis who for once deserted the 800m, will have a hard nut to crack against the Kenyan contingent led by Absel Kiprop. The defending Olympic and World Champion and winner of the 2011 Diamond League hopes to distinguish himself beginning with the first stage of the 2012 Diamond League.. Kaki will not be his only opponent , he will equally be careful with the threat of his compatriot Silas Kiplagat who registered an impressive time last weekend in Nairobi 1’44”78, a good way of ameliorating his impressive finish. The Doha public will have an opportunity of seeing another intense battle between long distance giants. In the 3000m, all eyes will be focused on Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele with has been patient in his hardwork to regain the level he had back in 2008 when he was a double gold medalist in the 5000 and 10000 at the Beijing Olympics. He could not hope for a better opponent like Ethiopia’s Kirprono Choge (7’28”79) in this Doha lap of the Diamond League. In the ladies’ category,the clash Kenya-Ethiopia will take centre would produce fireworks. The Ethiopians are thinking a lot of the Olympics where they hope not to be beaten by their neighbours and “best enemies” as it was the case during the last World athletics Championships in Daegu. In Daegu, the Ethiopian runners grabbed only five medals (one gold) against seventeen (seven gold) for the Kenyans. In Doha, the Ethiopians will be hoping on Meseret Defar to win the 3000m in the ladies’ category. According to statistics, the Ethiopian is leading by 12 victories to 4 in confrontations between the two. The result in Doha will certainly show the trend for 2012. However, it is in the 1500m that fireworks will be produced at the Doha meeting. In fact, Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo will be burning with desire to prove that she has turned the dark page and is hoping for a new beginning. Not at her best level in Beijing while she was just 18 in 2008, she is back in form at the right moment. Going by her winter performances, one could think that her dream of achieving a double in London would be fruitful. Jelimo could strike hard in Doha and record an impressive time and beating on her way her talented compatriot, Vivian Cheruiyot.