(Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

Americans Williams, Felix, Merritt To Compete In Diamond League Opener

Allyson Felix (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

Diamond League launches in Doha

(Release from USA Track & Field)

Many of Team USA’s finest including Jesse Williams, Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt are slated to compete in Doha, Qatar, Friday as the Samsung Diamond League kicks off its third annual series.

It will be a U.S. and Jamaican showdown in the women’s 100m with a total of seven athletes from the two nations lining up on the straightaway. The two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 200m, Felix will drop down to the 100m for the second time this year after her individual opening win of 11.22 last week in Japan. Lashauntea Moore is the top U.S. entrant in the 100m with a season best of 11.11 and Miki Barber will make her season debut at the distance. Jamaica is bringing their heavy-hitters with Olympic and world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and reigning Olympic medalists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson.

The men’s high jump is set to be a marquee event with four of the world’s best. 2011 World champion Williams will open his outdoor season by facing recent World Indoor champion Dimitrios Chondrokoukis of Greece and World Outdoor silver medalist Aleksey Dmitrik of Russia and World Outdoor bronze medalist Trevor Barry of the Bahamas.

The men’s 400m boasts two reigning Olympic champions in LaShawn Merritt in the 400m and Angelo Taylor in the 400m hurdles. Merritt is the current world leader at 44.73, which earned him a win earlier this month in Guadalupe, Mexico. Taylor is ranked in the top-12 in the world in both the hurdles and the 400m. The duo will be challenged by Martyn Rooney of Great Britain, who currently owns the second fastest time in the world.

The Samsung Diamond League includes 32 individual event disciplines with a points scoring ‘Diamond Race’ which runs throughout the 14-meet series. Winners of each Diamond Race will receive a diamond trophy and a cash prize.

The Diamond League series takes on a new importance this year with a new IAAF rule that grants the overall series champion in each event a wild-card entry into the next World Outdoor Championships. It gives Team USA another opportunity to take four athletes in an individual event at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. Previously, only the defending world champion was given a wild card entry.

The meet will be webcast live by Universal Sports on Friday at noon eastern time. For webcast information visit http://universalsports.com/category/track-field.

Tags: Diamond League Doha

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