07 March, 2016

Doha: Triple jump stars Taylor, Ibarguen and Rypakova confirmed for Season Launch

On May 6 Doha will play host to the kick-off meeting of the IAAF Diamond League series for a seventh successive season and as is always the case a large amount of the world’s elite athletes have chosen to open their outdoor campaign in the Suhaim Bin Hamad stadium. Among them, the reigning Olympic triple jump champions, Christian Taylor and Olga Rypakova, as well as the two-time World champion Caterine Ibarguen.

“Although the Doha 2016 coincides with the athletes’ Olympic preparations and is, as always, held at the beginning of the outdoor season, we have invited and bringing on a large number of Olympic and World Championships medalists, like Christian Taylor, Caterine Ibarguen and Olga Rypakova. This early announcement already shows that the meeting will be of a very high calibre with top athletes competing.

“By having in Doha elite athletes, we raise the awareness for our sport and we continuously engage, inspire and motivate a growing number of young athletes. The recent successful campaign of our national team at the Asian Indoors Championships held in Doha confirm the rapid progress athletics enjoy in Qatar”, stated the Qatar Athletics Federation President Dahlan Al Hamad who also commented on the recent addition of Rabat to the Diamond League calendar:

“I would like to take the opportunity to welcome Rabat and Morocco to the Diamond League family. The ‘International Mohammed VI’ meeting has been quite successful throughout all the years of existence and fully deserves its inclusion to the top-tier one-day events family.”

Taylor, a four-time Diamond Race winner (2012-2015), came a measly 8cm away from breaking the mythical 18.29m world record Jonathan Edwards set way back in 1995. The American reigning Olympic and World Champion, whose 18.21m winning mark last year at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing awarded him his second global title and elevated him to the world’s No. 2 spot, returns to Qatar to snatch his second IAAF Doha Diamond League victory and reclaim the meeting record he lost last year after a dramatic duel “combat” to Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo.

The 2015 triple jump competition in Doha was a real cracker, producing for the first time ever two marks beyond 18m by two different athletes on the same day. Taylor leaped 18.04m a new personal best in his last attempt, but fell short a mere two centimeters of Pichardo’s 18.06m early lead.

“That was a special day for me, as I exceeded 18m for the first time in my career. I am really looking forward to returning to Doha and enjoy the meeting’s favourable conditions which always help athletes reach peak form.

“2016 is a special year with the Olympics ahead on schedule. Triple jump has reached unprecedented heights in recent years, but I am looking for nothing less than a second Olympic gold.

“What better way to start the season, than going after that respectable meeting record. It would be a huge stepping stone in my preparation towards the Olympic Games. But of course, coming out with a Diamond League win would just be an added bonus”, said Taylor who possesses four of the twelve achieved 18m+ jumps in the history of the event (Edwards has also four on his account, Pichardo two, while Kenny Harrison and Teddy Tamgho own one apiece).

The women’s triple jump is not short of high calibre athletes as well. London Olympic champion and recently crowned Asian indoor champion in the Aspire Dome’s track, Olga Rypakova as well as the reigning World Champion Caterine Ibarguen have already signed in for the IDL Doha 2016 and lead a quality line-up which also features the 2015 World Champs silver medallist Hanna Knyazheva-Minenko and the Commonwealth Games champion Kimberly Williams.

31-year-old Rypakova, who returned to action and to medal positions in 2015 (bronze in Beijing) after giving birth to her second child, has yet to lose a triple jump competition in Doha, registering a Diamond League win in 2012 and three indoor victories. In 2010 she claimed the IAAF World Indoor title, while she also grabbed two Asian Indoors gold medals – her maiden in 2008 and a second one in her most recent triumph a few days ago with a new season best jump of 14.32cm.

The Kazakh’s 2010 World Champs winning performance of 15.14m remains her indoor personal best (15.25m outdoors – No. 8 all-time) and the only mark beyond 15m registered on Qatar soil.

London silver medallist Caterine Ibarguen took the baton from the 2012 winner Rypakova to top the Diamond Race rankings over the past three seasons (2013-2015). Since 2013 she has completely dominated the event winning the World title in 2013 in Moscow and in 2015, while she also emerged victorious in 18 Diamond League events.

The 32-year-old triple jumper from Colombia has competed only once before in Doha in 2014, but needed no more visits to claim the meeting record with 14.43m. Her 15.31m personal best ranks her fifth on the all-time lists.

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Doha 2016 
doha.diamondleague.com