Friday, 5 May 2017

World X-Country champ Kiplimo looks for 3000m glory in Doha Diamond League

Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo will hope to transfer his cross country running form to the track when he runs in the season's athletics curtain-raiser, the opening IAAF Diamond League event in Doha at about 8.45pm today.

Kiplimo, fresh from his victory in the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, will take on an array of seniors in the lucrative now-traditional Doha Diamond League curtain-raiser.

Sixteen-year-old Kiplimo will run the men’s  3000 meters against a strong field that includes Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto, Rio's 5000m Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo, World Indoor Champion 2016 Yomif Kejelcha and Muktar Edris (2015 World Running World Championships and World Junior Champion at 5000m in 2012.

The teenager became the first Ugandan to win gold at the World Cross Country Championships in March, when he won the men’s junior title in front of thousands of cheering fans including President Yoweri Museveni.

His traditionally runs the 5000m and 10000m on track. He finished 11th in his 5,000m heat at last year's Rio Olympics.

Today's meeting marks the beginning of the eighth season of the Diamond League that is this year spread over 14 meetings in 13 different countries.

Sixteen reigning Olympic and world champions will assemble in Doha to help kick off the 2017 IAAF Diamond League series.

The best performances in the Doha leg of the Diamond League have traditionally come in the long-distance races. 

The sprints should however provide one highlight when Justin Gatlin ,35, who finished second  at last year's Olympics 100m final, and Andre De Grasse 22,  who came third, renew their rivalry. The two will have their eyes on London in August, when they will take on Usain Bolt in his international farewell.

New structure for the Diamond League

The IAAF Diamond League changes formula this year. Starting from the Doha stage, athletes will pick up points in the first 12 meetings to qualify for the two finals in Zurich (24 August) and Brussels (1 September), which will include the Diamond Trophy and $ 100,000 for each of the 32 Diamond Races, of which $ 50,000 is reserved for every single winner of the final.

Previously, athletes accumulated points throughout the season with the overall winner of each of the 32 disciplines being the athlete with the most points, irrespective of whether they won the final.

Eight points will be awarded to the first, seven to second and so on to one point for the ranked eighth. At the end of qualifying matches, the best eight or twelve depending on the discipline will be invited to the finals. The winner of each race entered in the 12-day schedule will receive a $10,000 cheque.

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