The 2014 Diamond League series kicked off in Doha, Qatar, on Friday as some of the top stars in the world of track and field looked to begin successful campaigns.
While it's a long and grueling season—the finals won't be held until September in Brussels—the fans in Qatar filed into Qatar SC Stadium to create an electric atmosphere, per The Diamond League Twitter account:
It sounds more like a football match than an athletics meeting as the Ethiopian fans find their voices in spectacular fashion. Dibaba later!— IAAF Diamond League (@Diamond_League) May 9, 2014
The Kenyan fans respond to their Ethiopian counterparts with a rousing chorus of their own. It's like a Kenya v Ethiopia world cup match!— IAAF Diamond League (@Diamond_League) May 9, 2014
The fans in attendance weren't disappointed in terms of great performances. The long-distance events were especially competitive, as the men's 1,500 meter saw six men cross the 3:31 threshold. It was Kenyan Asbel Kiprop who claimed victory with a time of 3:29:18 to claim four points.
|1 Kiprop , Asbel KEN||3:29.14|
|2 Kiplagat , Silas KEN||3:29.70|
|3 Souleiman , Ayanleh DJI||3:30.16|
|4 Makhloufi , Taoufik ALG||3:30.40|
|5 Magut , James Kiplagat KEN||3:30.61|
|6 Wote , Aman ETH||3:30.86|
|7 Birgen , Bethwell KEN||3:31.22|
|8 Özbilen , Ilham Tanui TUR||3:32.09|
|9 Cheboi , Collins KEN||3:32.30|
|10 Cronje , Johan RSA||3:33.31|
Full results for each of the 24 events ran in the meet on Friday can be found at DiamondLeague.com.
The United Kingdom's Eilidh Child made her highly anticipated season debut in the 400-meter hurdles and came away with an impressive third-place finish, per the IAAF:
WL of 54.59 & a NR for Bahrain in the women's 400m hurdles as Kemi Adekoya takes the 4pts. 2nd K. Spencer (55.07) 3rd @EilidhChild (55.43)— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 9, 2014
Child wasn't able to pull off the victory in the race, but she did take to Twitter to thank fans for all of the support. With plenty of Diamond League events remaining on the schedule, this performance could be a building block for bigger and better things on the hurdles:
Thanks for the messages, nice solid opener to start the outdoor season!— Eilidh Child (@EilidhChild) May 9, 2014
But the biggest story may have taken place in the Women's 3,000-meter race where 10,000-meter Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba failed to live up to the pre-race hype. The Ethiopian was outran by Hellen Obiri and five other runners.
Flotrack had the reaction on Twitter:
The 3,000-meter race highlighted a larger theme of Kenyan dominance in long distance. The Kenyans claimed victories in the Women's 800-meter, Men's 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Kenya wasn't the only nation that impressed, though. Jamaica claimed two first-place finishes and American athletes found themselves on top of the podium in two events as well.
With multiple nations getting off to a strong start, it's shaping up to be another competitive year in the Diamond League. Expect there to be even more intrigue when the series heads to Shanghai on May 18.