With the Diamond League meeting in Doha, Qatar scheduled to open on Friday, several world and Olympic champions including Hellen Obiri, Sam Kendricks and Elaine Thompson-Herah on Thursday have voiced their expectations for a memorable end to an unusual year.
The top world athletics event in the Khalifa International Stadium will be the last Diamond League meeting of the 2020 season, in which many major events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s going to be like a championship race,” said world 5,000m champion Obiri. The Kenyan runner will compete with world steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech and three other world championships medalists from different disciplines in the women’s 3,000m race.
“I’ve trained well, and when I train well I have no doubts in a race. Whenever I line up for a race, I’m focused on doing my best. I don’t feel the pressure. Maybe I’ll do something special,” Obiri added.
Two-time Olympic champion Thompson-Herah expressed her gratitude and relief at being able to race on the Wanda Diamond League circuit in the press conference. The Jamaican sprinter won the women’s 100 meters in Rome in a world-leading 10.85 seconds last week.
“As a sprinter, you have to learn to block everything else out anyway, so I’ve got used to racing in a stadium without any fans,” Thompson-Herah said. “Nothing much has changed with my training.”
In addition, two-time world pole vault champion Kendricks said that he is staying focused on the positives as he navigates his way through the testing season.
“You get to put the whole world aside when you step on to the track,” he noted. “And when you’re on it, time goes fast and the whole world melts away. Not that I don’t care about the problems of the world, but they don’t matter when you’re standing there on the track. At that moment, it’s all about how fast you can run or how high you can jump.”