Teddy Tamgho, Andreas Thorkildsen and Allyson Felix are just a few of the star names who will be making their 2011 Samsung Diamond League debut when the 14-meeting series kicks off in Doha, Qatar, on Friday, 6 May.
Tamgho in particular remembers Doha quite well. The 22-year-old Frenchman dramatically took the World indoor title in the Qatari capital in March 2010 when he soared to a World indoor record of 17.90m. This past indoor season he extended the mark twice more, most recently to 17.92m before a home crowd at the European Indoor Championships in Paris one month ago.
The roster of high profile athletes also includes Thorkildsen, Norway's two-time Olympic champion in the Javelin Throw. Thorkildsen returns to Doha after four straight appearances from 2006 to 2009. The current European, World and Olympic champion holds the meeting record with a 90.13 throw back in 2006, when he beat the legendary Jan Zelezny.
Felix, the three-time World 200m champion, opened her 2010 Samsung Diamond League season in Doha with a victory in the 400m, and later went on to win both the 200m and 400m Samsung Diamond League Trophies.
The men's High Jump is also likely to be among the highlights with Andrey Silnov, Russia's 2008 Olympic champion, leading the field. However Qatar is hoping to surprise the world with the 2010 World junior champion and 2010 Asian Games champion Mutaz Essa Barshim in the field. Qatar will have a strong 1-2 punch in the event with Rashid Ahmed Al Mannai, the 2010 VTB Bank Continental Cup winner, also in the field.
Also announced were 100m hurdles ace Lolo Jones, the two-time World indoor champion over the 60m Hurdles barriers, and Walter Dix, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist in both the 100 and 200m.
Organisers for the IAAF
- Teddy Tamgho en route to one of his 17.92m World records in Paris (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Rashid Ahmed Al-Mannai of Qatar takes the men's High Jump for team Asia/Pacific in Split (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Andreas Thorkildsen throwing with his earflap wool hat in Split (Getty Images) © Copyright