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Doha Diamond League Preview

Doha marks the start of the 2016 Diamond League circuit. It will begin with some stacked fields as athletes look to round into form before this summer's Olympic games.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

The meet will be covered live on BeIN Sports, a channel you probably don't have, beginning at noon EST. Some field events and non-Diamond League races will occur before that coverage. Prior to live coverage on BeIN, and, if you don't have access to BeIN, you can likely rely on your favorite illegal stream. If you want to watch the women's pole vault, shot put, or triple jump or the men's discus, you'll have to utilize alternative, non-BeIN means.

Overall Vibes

The Diamond League has attracted/recruited an impressive field to kick off an Olympic year of Diamond League competition. With a field like the one assembled in Doha, the first outdoor season of the so-called "clean athletics era"--pay no attention to all the meldonium over in that corner!--is going to get off to a solid start, so solid, in fact, that, while most previews on the internet are focusing on five events to watch, I can't limit my excitement to such a narrow scope. There are (at least) seven events today that demand your attention.

Event Previews

Men's High Jump - 12 Noon EST New time: 1:45 PM EST

Having one of the best high jumpers in the world as a native of Doha certainly makes it easier to assemble a strong field for today's meet. Joining Barshim will be 2015 Outdoor World Champion Derek Drouin of Canada, Americans Jesse William's and Erik Kynard, the latter of whom finished third indoors, Robbie Grabarz, and Zhang Guowei. The field in Rio likely won't look much different up top from the talent assembled here. Barshim has never won in Doha and he faces anything but an easy path to that first victory this evening.

Women's 100m - 12:15 PM EST

Allyson Felix pulling out of this race with an injury weakens it some, but this probably remains as the strongest sprint field in Doha. 200m World Champion and 100m Silver Medalist Dafne Schippers makes her first trip to Doha and looks to follow up a break-out 2015 season with a strong start to the Olympic year. She'll be joined by Veronica Campbell-Brown, Tori Bowie, and Jeneba Tarmoh. With how dominant Schippers has been over the last 9 or 10 months, I'd be surprised if she lost.

Men's 1500m - 12:25 PM EST

With Asbel Kiprop, Elijah Manangoi, and Silas Kiplagat, three of the top five finishers from Beijing last summer will be in the field. Adding in Aman Wote, Robert Biwott, and Bethwell Birgen makes this field absolutely dominant. However, Asbel Kiprop is by far the most talented 1500m runner in the world and may be the most talented 1500m runner of all time. He has won the last two 1500m races he's run in Doha and was last seen jogging a 1500m in Kenya. He should win here, but there is enough talent behind him to make the race for second intriguing in its own right.

Men's Steeplechase - 12:50 PM EST

It feels strange to write, but Jairus Birech might be the favorite in a field that featured Ezekiel Kemboi. Birech has been racing longer distances so far this spring, running two 10ks at altitude in Kenya. In the steeple, Birech has won 9 of his last 12 appearances in the event at the Diamond League. Both Kemboi and Brimin Kipruto will look to challenge Birech, which, again feels odd to write considering that Kemboi is probably the best steepler of all time and has won the last five global titles.

Men's 200m - 1:09 PM EST

Walter Dix makes his return to the Diamond League--he hasn't notched a DL race since 2013--looking to prove he is a threat to make the US team out of the Trials in July after running well in the early-going. Joining him will be two Americans in Ameer Webb and Isiah Young who will look to prove the same thing. Webb broke 20 for the first time last month at Mt. Sac and followed that with a sub-10 100m effort. The three Americans will face competition from Alonso Edward and Nickel Ashmeade while also contending with Asian Record Holder and Qatari native Femi Ogunode.

Women's 800m - 1:21 PM EST

Is Caster Semenya back? Last month at the South African Championships, she ran a triple of 50.74 in the 400m, 1:58.45 in the 800m and 4:10.91 in the 1500m, so she's certainly in good shape. But the question remains about whether she can do anything against real competition. She won't have an easy time of things in a field that also includes Eunice Sum, who has won 25 of her last 30 800m races. If Semenya can manage to beat Sum, there would be little question that she would be the favorite to win gold in Rio.

Men's 110m Hurdles - 1:34 PM EST

The question coming into this race is whether Omar Mcleod is a transcendent talent in the event. Already this season, he has become the first man to ever break both 10 seconds in the 100m and 13 seconds in the 110 hurdles. He'll look to build off his Indoor World Championship in the 60m hurdles to prove he's on a different level than his competition. His main competition this afternoon will be Aries Merritt, who is coming back from kidney surgery, and David Oliver. Prior to that surgery, Merritt won bronze at the 2015 World Championships when his kidneys were reportedly functioning at only 20%. McLeod handily beat both Oliver and Merritt at Drake on Saturday in cold and rainy conditions.

Women's 3000m - 1:45 PM EST

Almaz Ayana enters this season hoping to establish herself as the best non-Dibaba distance runner on the women's side with a strong showing. At 24 years old, she already holds the Ethiopian national record in the 3000m and is the 11th fastest runner all time in the event. We're quietly not too far from an argument to place Ayana on the same tier as Dibaba after a 2015 season in which she decimated Dibaba--who, in fairness, was coming off a double--in the 5000m final. Vivian Cheruiyot will be her primary challenger today. She came off a maternity break of 30 months to win the 10k in Beijing this summer. Ayana should still win handily, though she did mention yesterday that she's coming off a minor injury that interrupted her training. 3000m is likely too short for Cheruiyot to challenge the speedier and younger runner.