Preview: 2016 Doha IAAF Diamond League

Friday, 6 May, sees the start of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League Series in Doha, Qatar, and features both Men’s and Women’s Triple Jump competitions.This season the points system has changed to award points for the top 6 athletes in each event as follows: 1st – 10 points; 2nd – 6 points; 3rd – 4 points; 4th – 3 points; 5th – 2 points; 6th – 1 point. All points are doubled in the Diamond League Final meetings.

The Women’s competition starts at 6.10 pm local time (4.10 pm BST) and features the current World, Olympic and World Indoor Champions in Caterine Ibarguen, Olga Rypakova and Yulimar Rojas respectively. Ibarguen, unbeaten since the 2012 Olympic Final and the regining Diamond League Champion in the event, opened her season last weekend in Medellín, Colombia, with 14.43m. Will she get caught cold in Doha early in the season after a long flight and finally be beaten? The last person to head Ibarguen, Kazakhstan’s Rypakova, has fond memories of Doha having won the Asian Indoor Championships there in February with a leap of 14.32m. New star of the event, 20 year-old Rojas from Venezeula, will look to carry on the form that brought her gold in Portland and a new South American Indoor Record of 14.69m during the winter. How much of a challenge she can pose to Ibarguen’s dominance in the event could be revealed in Doha tomorrow.

Also in Doha are this year’s World Leader Shanieka Thomas, extending her PB to 14.57m in Jamaica last month, and fellow national Kimberly Williams, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion making her seasonal debut. Greece’s Paraskevi Papachristou will hope to continue her return to form over the winter when she took bronze in the World Indoor Championships, while Jeanine Assani Issouf of France could make good progress this season after a good winter with consistent 14 metres plus results. Brazil’s Keila Costa, Poland’s Anna Jagaciak and Slovakian Dana Velďáková complete the line-up of athletes battling for Diamond League points.

Women’s Triple Jump Line-Up (with outdoor PBs):
Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia) 15.31m
Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan) 15.25m
Paraskevi Papachristou (Greece) 14.72m
Kimberly Williams (Jamaica) 14.62m
Kiela Costa (Brazil) 14.58m
Shanieka Thomas (Jamaica) 14.57m
Dana Velďáková (Slovakia) 14.51m
Anna Jagaciak (Poland) 14.25m
Jeanine Assani Issouf (France) 14.24m
Yulimar Rojas (Venezeula) 14.20m

The Men’s competition begins at 7.50 pm local time (5.50pm BST) and features a mouth-watering clash between the reigning World and Olympic Champion Christian Taylor and World Indoor Champion Bin Dong. In last year’s corresponding meeting Taylor jumped a new PB of 18.04m, but still came off 2nd best to Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo’s Diamond League Record of 18.06m in the first of many gripping battles between them last summer. Pichardo is still recovering from injury and misses out in Doha, but in his place comes a new foe for Taylor – China’s Bin Dong. Dong led the World Rankings over the winter with 17.41m and proved his class when taking the World Indoor crown in Portland with 17.33m. How much of a challenge he will prove to Taylor’s hopes of becoming the first man to retain the Olympic title since the great Victor Saneyev may become clearer in Doha.

Doha will bring back memories of a different kind for another jumper in the field, former World Indoor and Outdoor Champion Teddy Tamgho. 12 months ago at the same meeting Tamgho was stretchered away from the runway after pulling up on his 3rd attempt, having ruptured his achilles tendon. He returned to competition during the winter, reaching 16.98m, and if he can retain his fitness come Rio will no feature in the battle for podium places. Another athlete making a welcome return to World level competition following a serious injury is Leevan Sands of the Bahamas. After collapsing with a terrible knee injury on his 4th attempt at the London Olympics many believed Sands distinguished Triple Jump career was over. However, after a lengthy rehabilitation and determined to return to the Olympic stage, Sands makes his first Diamond League appearance for 4 years in Doha having jumped 16.63m off a shortened approach last month.

Cuban Alexis Copello jumped 16.98m to take the 1st of the IAAF World Indoor Series Meetings in Karlsruhe early during the winter and could threaten 17 metres along with the main protagonists. Tosin Oke finished 6th at the World Indoor Championships, jumping 16.73m, and will also hope to threaten the 17 metre mark he hit last September.

Great Britain is represented in Doha in the Triple Jump events by Nathan Douglas aiming to hit the kind of form needed to earn selection for what would be his 3rd Olympic Games later this year. After jumping 16.23m in Glasgow in the winter he suffered an early knee injury at the British Indoor Championships that curtailed his season. His first outdoor competition of the season should give us some indication on whether he can find the Rio qualifying standard of 16.85m this summer. 2012 Olympic finalist Samyr Laine of Haiti and Roman Valiyev of Kazakhstan will also be looking for progress towards that Olympic mark during Friday’s competition in Doha.

Men’s Triple Jump Line-Up (with outdoor PBs):
Christian Taylor (USA) 18.21m
Teddy Tamgho (France) 18.04m
Alexis Copello (Cuba) 17.68m
Nathan Douglas (GB) 17.64m
Leevan Sands (Bahamas) 17.59m
Samyr Laine (Haiti) 17.39m
Bin Dong (China) 17.38m
Tosin Oke (Nigeria) 17.23m
Roman Valiyev (Kazakhstan) 17.20m

Written by iTripleJump

A Triple Jumper for over 35 years - from an over-hopping junior to a county-level senior - I still enjoy jumping in national and international Masters competitions in the event that has gripped me since my first hop, step and jump onto a springless PE mat. Waiting for that perfect jump. That one perfect jump ...

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