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Athletics chief excited over Diamond League action

TOP MAN: Lamine Diack

IAAF PRESIDENT Lamine Diack is keen to hear the first gun of the new Diamond League campaign. The new term gets under way in Doha tonight (May 15).

Diack told the Diamond League's official website: “Doha annually has had the honour to be the first competition of our global series, the 14 best invitational track and field meetings in the world, and this is also the sixth consecutive year I have visited Doha to support the start of the IAAF Diamond League,” said President Diack.

“We very much appreciate the continued support and enthusiasm for athletics shown by His Highness the Emir of Qatar, who is an IOC (International Olympic Committee) member; Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar National Olympic Committee; and Dr Thani Al Kawari, General Secretary of the Qatar National Olympic Committee.

“Qatar hosted a very successful IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2010 and last November won the right to stage the 2019 IAAF World Championships so, in the build-up to those championships, the IAAF Diamond League is playing an important role in developing an understanding and passion for our sport in this region.

“2015 looks set to see the greatest ever athletics meeting in Doha. A star cast here is headed by global champions such as Allyson Felix, Mo Farah, Sanya Richards-Ross and Asbel Kiprop."

The series of meetings will also be graced by some of Jamaica's top names including Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and veronica Campbell.

Senegal-born Diack continued: “In total 12 reigning Olympic champions and 11 current world champions will be getting their 2015 IAAF Diamond League campaigns underway in Doha. Including winners of global titles from before 2012, this meeting will feature 16 Olympic gold medallists and 26 world champions.

SPEEDSTER: Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown

"This year the IAAF Diamond League begins with a bang. Two meetings in Asia on the same weekend: here in Doha and then on Sunday in Shanghai.

“This series is now more visible to fans around the world than ever before. Our vision in 2009 was to create a new exciting product for athletics’ top invitational circuit and the IAAF Diamond League definitively offers the best athletics entertainment outside the IAAF World Championships and Olympic Games.

“During five seasons, the IAAF Diamond League has established itself in the hearts and minds of fans worldwide.

“With 32 event disciplines with the best athletes in the world competing for USD$8 million in prize money, we are confident that the series will continue to attract a younger audience and to grow in importance.

“While there remain many challenges ahead, the IAAF firmly believes that we have made an exceptionally good start in the first five years

“This is my last year as president of the IAAF and as chairman of the Board of the Diamond League. I have no doubt that we have established a good platform on which my successor will be able to further enhance the global status, visibility and reach of the IAAF Diamond League,” added Diack.

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