by RENALDO DORSETT
The 2015 edition of the IAAF Diamond League will get underway this Friday and according to provisional entry lists Bahamian athletes will figure prominently in competition on the first leg in the series.
The Diamond League will begin tomorrow in Doha Qatar at the 15,000 seat Suhain bin Hamad Stadium.
National 400m hurdles record and 200m sprinter Anthonique Strachan will both compete in their signature events.
Gibson’s race will take place approximately 12:05pm local time and will comprise a field where he come’s in with the fourth fastest time of the season (49.42s)
American Bershawn Jackson leads the group at 48.47s, followed by Thomas Barr of Ireland at 49.08s and LJ Van Zyl of South Africa at 49.26s.
Both Gibson and Jackson posted their season best times at last weekend’s Jamaica Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica.
Gibson’s time places him at No.11 on the IAAF top lists for the season while Jackson has posted three of the top ten times thus far.
The women’s 200m takes place at approximately 12:40 local time and Strachan will compete alongside a star studded field led by three-time Olympic medalist at 200m, Allyson Felix of the United States.
Strachan has recorded a time of 22.89s for the season, run last month in Auburn, Alabama, and ranked at no. 22 on the top list this season.
The 2012 World Junior sprint double champion will compete against Felix, and fellow Americans Jeneba Tarmoh, Shalonda Solomon (22.44-SB) and Charonda Williams (22.76s-SB)
Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast will also be a medal contendor in the field as she comes in with the fastest time of 22.50s.
The Doha Grand Prix was first held in 1997 with only men’s events included in the program. Women’s disciplines were added the following year.
Doha staged the first ever Diamond League at Qatar Sports Club stadium in 2010 on May 14, only two months after hosting the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
From 1997 until 2013, a total of 19 men’s and 17 women’s events were held at the Doha athletics meeting.
THE IAAF Diamond League is made up of a series of 14 meets, each offering $480,000 in prize money.
In each of the event disciplines, there is a Diamond Race with points available throughout the season.
Each of the 32 event disciplines is staged seven times with the top three athletes being awarded the same amount of points at each meeting, with the exception of the final where the points are doubled.
The overall winner of each of the 32 Diamond Races will receive a $40,000 cash prize and a the Diamond Trophy.
The IAAF Diamond League is offering a total of $8 million in prize money in 2015.
A true global contest, approximately 2175 athletes from 105 nations have taken part in IAAF Diamond League meets between 2010 and 2014, 708 athletes from 84 countries have scored points, while 301 athletes from 62 countries have won events.