5th May 2017

Six Brits in action at opening Diamond League in Doha

This year’s IAAF Diamond League series kicks off this evening in Doha, Qatar with six British athletes in action at the Hamad Bin Suhaim Stadium.

The first of 14 stops on the series once again, the meeting will see Britain’s top two high jumpers in action, as global multi-medallist Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) and 2016 European bronze medallist Chris Baker (Sharon Herevan) kick off their outdoor seasons against some of the world’s best at beating the bar.

Sure for a fantastic reception on his home soil, fierce competition to the British pair comes in the form of 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Mutaz Essa Barshim, world number two of all-time; and world indoor bronze medallist Erik Kynard, among others.

Elsewhere, in undoubtedly one of the strongest fields of the evening, the women’s 200m will see Desiree Henry (Rana Reider) test herself against two of the best sprinters in the world in 2015 world champion Dafne Schippers and double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson.

Henry, who trains alongside Schippers in the Netherlands, opened her season with her second quickest 200m ever for 22.69 in California, and the 21-year-old will hope for more of the same come tomorrow evening.

The women’s pole vault sees four-time British champion and two-time Olympian Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson) open up her season in Doha having missed the indoors due to injury.

Bradshaw’s last outing of 2016 saw her claim her first ever Diamond League victory at the penultimate meeting of the year in Zurich ahead of Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris, the Olympic gold and silver medallists respectively. Both athletes are due to compete this time around, too, while Cuba’s world champion Yarisley Silva will also be in attendance.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, and after running inside the London 2017 qualifying standard with 12.92 last weekend at the Drake Relays, Olympic finalist Cindy Ofili will line up lane-side to world record holder Kendra Harrison and Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali among others in Doha.

The final event of the evening, the men’s 3000m, will see Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) be the last Brit to take to the field of play as he returns to racing after a spell out at altitude training in Arizona.

Butchart enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence last year with a sixth place finish in the 5000m Olympic final, and on his last outdoor attempt at 3000m, in Birmingham last year, the Central AC athlete ran a lifetime best and claimed the Scottish record for the distance with a posting of 7:45:00.

Tasked with running against a field which is spearheaded by Olympic 5000m silver medallist Paul Chelimo and Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto, Butchart will hope to feed off what is sure to be a speedy pace.

Elsewhere, Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) is on pace-making duty for a women’s 800m field which includes all three medal winners from Rio in Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambu, as well as 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba

The action will be broadcast live on Eurosport between 17:00-19:00 UK time

Live updates will be posted on the British Athletics twitter account, with an action report to follow shortly after on the British Athletics website.

Highlights from the meeting will be shown on BBC One on Saturday 6 May from 13:45 – 14:45