26 April, 2016

Doha: World Champions Malachowski, Schwanitz and Molitor to Lead Throws

  • Piotr Malachowski - © Giancarlo Colombo

World champions Piotr Malachowski, Christina Schwanitz and Katharina Molitor will lead their respective fields at the Doha 2016 Meeting on Friday May 6, the opening meeting the seventh season of the IAAF Diamond League series.

Malachowski will lead a podium reunion from the 2015 World Championships in the discus throw, the sole men’s throw event on this year’s programme. Schwanitz meanwhile will head the field in the shot put and her German compatriot Molitor in the javelin throw.

“We’ve witnessed some memorable performances in the throws events in Doha in recent years,” said Qatar Athletics Federation President Dahlan Al Hamad. “We hope to see that tradition grow this year, especially with world champions Piotr Malachowski, Christina Schwanitz and Katharina Molitor kicking off their IAAF Diamond League and Olympic seasons here against very strong and competitive fields.”

Malachowski, who also struck Olympic silver in 2008 and world silver in 2009 and 2013, is no stranger to Doha, winning here in 2012 and 2014, two of the three seasons in which he won the Diamond Race Trophy. The 32-year-old also took the series’ top honour in 2010, its inaugural season. With a career best of 71.84m, Malachowski ranks fifth on the all-time list.

He will take on Belgian Philip Milanov and Pole Robert Urbanek, the silver and bronze medallists last year. Just 24, Milanov is a relative newcomer on the event’s main stage, with a 66.90m personal best to his credit. In contrast, Urbanek, 28, is well-tested and experienced. In 2014 he captured bronze at the European Championships and last year collected victories at the European Team Championships and at IAAF Diamond League stops in Oslo and Zurich.

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The field also includes Swede Daniel Stahl, another 2015 World Championships finalist; Zoltan Kovago of Hungary, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist; and Benn Harradine of Australia, a former Commonwealth champion with a 68.20m career best.

Local attention will fall on Qatar's Ahmed Mohamed Dheeb, bronze medalist at the 2014 Asian Games.

Schwanitz produced the finest season of her career in 2015, one in which she won the world title, collected five IAAF Diamond League series victories en route to her first Diamond Race Trophy, and led the world with a 20.77m personal best. She produced the year's four farthest throws, and five of the best six.

In Doha she'll face Michelle Carter of the U.S., who arrives in the Qatari capital on the heels of her gold medal showing at the World Indoor Championships. The national record holder at 20.24m, Carter took bronze at last year's World Championships.

The field also includes Anita Marton of Hungary, the silver medallist at the world indoors behind Carter.

Molitor will also face a formidable field in her pursuit of a first victory in a IAAF Diamond League competition. Last year, the 32-year-old arrived at the World Championships without a major medal to her name, but rose to the occasion, improving her career best to 67.69m to take unexpected gold.

Among her key rivals is African record holder (69.35m) Sunette Viljoen of South Africa, who claimed bronze medals at the past two editions of the world championships. Watch out too for Martina Ratej, the Slovenian record holder at 67.16m, who won in Doha two years ago.

Organisers also announced the field in the women’s pole vault which is shaping into what is perhaps the most wide open event of the meeting.

There's Sandi Morris of the U.S., who rose in the ranks during the indoor season when she improved to 4.95m and won the silver medal at the World Indoor Championships. There is also a solid Greek 1-2 punch with Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou, the bronze medallist at last year's World Championships and 2015 Diamond Race winner, and her teammate Katerina Stefanidi, who took World Indoor Championships bronze. Kiriakopoulou, who has a best of 4.83m, won in Doha two years ago.

The field also includes German Silke Spiegelburg, who raised the Diamond Trophy three times; Swiss record holder Nicole Buchler, who topped 4.80m to finish fourth at the World Indoor Championships; and Li Ling of China, the Asian record holder at 4.66m.

Elsewhere, organisers have also confirmed that Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela, the surprise triple jump winner at last month’s World Indoor Championships, has been added to the field in her specialty. And Orlando Ortega of Spain, the tenth fastest high hurdler of all-time at 12.94, has joined the field in the men’s 110m hurdles.