5th May 2017

Grabarz on form in Doha

The 2017 IAAF Diamond League season kicked off in Doha, Qatar on a mixed evening for the six British athletes involved.

The standout British performance of the night came from Robbie Grabarz (coach: Fuzz Caan) who was second behind home favourite Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) in the high jump, after clearing a superb 2.31m.

Recently securing silver at the European Indoors in Belgrade, Grabarz continued his solid start to the year in his first outdoor competition. Despite first round fouls at 2.26m, 2.29m and 2.31m, Grabarz alleviated any concerns by coming back stronger on his next attempts, and moved into a head-to-head against the Olympic silver medallist. However, after hitting the bar once at 2.33m, he moved straight to the 2.35m height to try and challenge the Qatari athlete, but it was not to be as he settled for second place.

Compatriot Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) had a scare at 2.19m with a third and final attempt needed to progress any further. However, he sailed over on the pressurised jump before comfortably clearing 2.23m and 2.26m with ease. He stayed at that height after three fouls at 2.29m, but secured a seventh place finish at the season opener.

After missing the indoor season due to injury, there was a welcome return for Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson) who ended the women’s pole vault in fourth overall with a best mark of 4.55m. It really was plain sailing for the two-time Olympic finalist, with first time efforts of 4.45m and 4.55m brushed aside with ease. 4.65m proved trickier and her competition unfortunately came to an end here, but it was a stoic effort by the Blackburn Harrier. The Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi (GRE) won overall after a battle with American Sandi Morris, prevailing with a best of 4.80m.

In a quick men’s 3000m race, Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) clocked a time of 7:45.36 to cross the line in eighth place. The race set off at a fast pace with the field largely stretched out but it wasn’t until the final 1000m that the field began to fracture, which the Scottish athlete started to take advantage of to seal a top eight finish.

Earlier in the evening, in her second 200m race of the 2017 season, Desiree Henry (Rana Reider) was seventh in a time of 23.22 (-2.3) with Olympic champion Elaine Thompson (JAM) taking the victory in 22.19.

Elsewhere, in the 100m hurdles, Cindy Ofili crossed the line in seventh place with a time of 13.42 (-2.3) in a race won by world record holder Kendra Harrison in 12.59. .

Highlights of the event can be seen on BBC One on Saturday 6 May at 13:45.

Full results can be found here: Results