Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Doha DL, photo by Stuart Weir
Soufianne El Bakkali, Doha DL, photo by Diamond League AG
Women's 3000m, Doha DL, photo by Diamond League AG
A great start!
The 2022 Diamond League season opener in Doha had it all! There was high-quality action, a few shocks, and great rivalries, enough to whet the appetite for a season which also includes a world championship. The evening started with the sensational news that the men's pole vault had been cancelled because the strong winds made it too dangerous. Mondo Duplantis told me that it was the first time he'd encountered such a situation in his career but felt that the organizers had no choice. The event has been rescheduled, indoors for the next day.
The race of the day was the women's 3000m which saw Francine Niyonsabe, a DSD athlete, banned from her former specialist event of 800m,who now concentrates on the 5K and 10K fight it out with Faith Kipyegon - unbeatable at 1500m but what could she do at the longer event? In the end Francine won by 0.35 of a second but it was in the balance until the final few meters.
Yet 0.35 of a second must have seemed like an eternity to the sprint hurdlers with Keni Harrison's winning margin over Tobi Amusan and Britany Anderson (joint second) just one-hundredth of a second. It was so close, in fact, that the stadium announcer gave it to Amusen. Similarly, Noah Lyle's victory over Fred Kerley in the 200 was 0.03 seconds.
The Tokyo high-jump rematch was an anticlimax with Sanghyeok Woo winning with 2.33 from Mutaz Barshim 2.30 with Gianmarco Tamberi seventh with 2.20. Not a total surprise as Woo won the 2022 World Indoors.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo was surprisingly beaten into third place on the 400 by Marileidy Paulino and Stefanie-Ann McPherson. Dina Asher-Smith was also third in the 200 behind Gabrielle Thomas and Shericka Jackson. But before we read too much into these results, it was the first serious race of the outdoor season.
Soufiane El Bakkali did what Olympic champions are supposed to do by winning his event, the 3000 steeplechase. Abel Kipsang took the 1500 from Timothy Cheruiyot in a Kenyan 1-2.