This is Justin Lagat’s piece on the Doha Diamond League meeting, the third Diamond League meeting held on May 10, 2023. 

While big and experienced stars ruled the women’s races as expected at the Doha Diamond League, emerging stars caused upsets in the men’s middle-distance races.

It was evident that Mary Moraa had many Kenyan fans inside the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium as she won the women’s 800m to thunderous cheering. As usual, the reigning world champion led just after the pacesetter dropped out and continued to control the race up to the last 50m when she extended her lead to win the race in a seasonal best time of 1:57.91. Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie came second in 1:58.42, ahead of Benin’s Noelie Yarigo in 1:58.70.

Beatrice Chebet wins the 5,000 meters, Doha DL, photo by Marissa Nassour for the Diamond League

Another Kenyan, Beatrice Chebet, opened her track season on a high with a world-leading time in the women’s 5000m race. The world road running and cross country champion stayed just behind the pacemaker, then allowed Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye to take over the pacing duties after the official one had stepped out. There were seven runners in the leading pack with 2000m to go, five with 1000m, and three as they came to the bell.

With 200m to go, Chebet moved to overtake from the inside lane, but Taye blocked her path. She moved to the outside lane and no one could catch her as she rapidly created a big lead before crossing the finish line in 14:26.98. Taye finished second in 14:29.26 ahead of her compatriot, Medina Eisa, who ran 14:34.11 to finish third.

Freyweini Hailu opened up a 50m gap in the second lap of the women’s 1500m and maintained it up to almost the last 200m when the chasing back gradually gained in on her. However, he had already done enough to save herself from Australia’s Jessica Hull’s late surge in the homestretch as she ran 4:00.42 against 4:00.84. Kenya’s Nelly Chepchirchir was third in 4:01.19.

Brian Komen takes the 1,500m, by Chiara Montessano for the Diamond League

It would seem Kenya will not be running out of the men’s 1500m runners any time soon. A new star named Brian Komen caused an upset to his more experienced countryman, Timothy Cheruiyot, in a sprint finish. Cheruiyot had led most of the race, but Komen produced a great finishing kick to overtake him on the home stretch, with about 50m to the finish line. The newly crowned All-African Games champion crossed the finish line in 3:32.42. Cheruiyot followed in a seasonal best of 3:32.67, as the other younger Cheruiyot -the 19-year-old Reynond Kipkorir- finished third in 3:32.96.

Another All-African Games champion, 20-year-old Samuel Firewu, battled Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwut to the last few inches of the men’s 3000m steeplechase race. The emerging Ethiopian star ran a world-leading personal best time of 8:07.25 to win against Kibiwot’s seasonal best of 8:07.38. Getnet Wale, who had led the better part of the race, was third in 8:09.69.