DOHA, Qatar, CMC – All eyes will once again be on reigning World and Olympic 100 metres champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce when the lucrative IAAF Diamond League opens Friday here with the Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old Jamaica is on top of her game and will be installed as the one to beat when she takes on her competition at the Qatar Sports Club.
With main rival American Carmelita Jeter not in the line up, Fraser-Pryce’s only threat should come from Nigerian Blessing Okagbare who won the 100m last week at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston.
Former Olympic medallist Jamaican Kerron Stewart will also chase Fraser-Pryce, with 21-year-old American English Gardner, who finished fourth last year in the 100m at the Moscow World Championships, also down to start.
Fraser-Pryce brings a high billing to the event, having won gold at the London 2012 Olympics and in Moscow last year. Earlier this year, she claimed her first ever indoor title when she captured gold in the 60m in Sopot.
Last weekend, she easily beat her field in the half-lap at the Jamaica Invitational, to warm up for the Doha outing.
On the men’s side of the meet, there is a noticeable absence of big names. However, Jamaican Warren Weir, a bronze medallist in the 200 metres at the London Olympics, will do battle with 2012 European champion Churandy Martina, the Dutch sprinter who hails from Curacao.
Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade, a sprint relay gold medallist in Moscow last year, will also line up at the start along with countryman Rasheed Dwyer.
Kaliese Spencer will give Jamaica a presence in the 400 metres hurdles that will also feature World Championship silver medallist American Dalilah Muhammad and bronze medallist Lashinda Demus, also of the United States.