IAAF Diamond League: Genzebe Dibaba to Make 800m Debut in Doha

Genzebe Dibaba on her way to breaking the 1500m world record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco (photo: Philippe Fitte)

With just one week to go, the line-up of global superstar athletes that will feature in the Doha 2017 Diamond League promises to be one of the best ever as Genzebe Dibaba becomes the latest star name to be confirmed. The Ethiopian ensures that there will be no less than 16 reigning Olympic and world champions, and a total of 44 global medallists competing when the IAAF Diamond League series commences for the eighth time at the Qatar Sports Club on 5 May.

“We are very excited to welcome so many of the world’s best athletes to Qatar in just one week’s time for the eighth consecutive edition of the Doha Diamond League,” said President of the Qatar Athletics Federation, Dr. Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari.

Dibaba vs Semenya at 800m

Dibaba is the reigning world champion and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist in the 1500m, as well as the 2015 world bronze medallist in the 5000m. Looking for a new challenge, the 26-year-old will turn her focus to the 800m in the upcoming 2017 season, with the Doha Diamond League marking her debut over this shorter distance.

Dibaba will face tough competition from two-time Olympic and two-time world champion Caster Semenya of South Africa who was unbeaten over 800m in 2016. Also lining up are Rio 2016 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba, who became Burundi’s first-ever female medallist in Rio, and 2014 world U20 champion and Rio 2016 800m bronze medallist Margaret Wambui of Kenya in what is expected to be a riveting race over two laps of the track.

“The track at Qatar Sports Club is very fast and there is an extremely strong line-up in the women’s 800 metres this year, so there is no better place to make my debut over this distance,” Dibaba said. “When I last competed in the Doha Diamond League, there was a huge crowd of supportive Ethiopian fans cheering for me and I cannot wait to return to kick off my 2017 season.”

Read more at: BBC Sport