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Diamond League season starts with sprint showdowns in Doha; broadcast schedule

Fred Kerley

Fred Kerley of the US reacts before the start of the mens 400 metre event during the 2023 Sydney Track Classic athletics meet at Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre on March 11, 2023. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP) / - IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE- (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The Diamond League track and field season starts Friday in Doha with world champion sprinters facing off on the men’s side, plus most of the top U.S. women in the 100m.

Peacock streams the meet live on Friday at 12 p.m. ET. CNBC airs coverage Sunday at 12 p.m. ET.

Several events feature clashes of Olympic and world champions, headlined by the men’s 200m: American Fred Kerley (world 100m champ) vs. American Michael Norman (world 400m champ) vs. Canadian Andre De Grasse (Olympic 200m champ).

Kerley, 27, has a bye into August’s world championships in the 100m as the reigning gold medalist. So he may be emphasizing the 200m through July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three men will join reigning world champion Noah Lyles on the world team. Kerley was eliminated in the 200m semifinals at last summer’s worlds, saying he suffered a left leg cramp.

Norman, 25, is definitely emphasizing the 100m this season after bagging his first world title in the 400m last year. He has strong 200m credentials, too, ranking fourth in the world last year despite not contesting the event at USATF Outdoors or worlds.

De Grasse, 28, looks to rebound after withdrawing before the 200m at last summer’s worlds while recovering from a COVID-19 bout.

Lyles, who last year broke the American record to repeat as world 200m champion, is not entered in Doha. He is scheduled to race at the Atlanta City Games on Saturday.

The Doha women’s 100m has the last two world 200m champions -- Jamaican Shericka Jackson and Brit Dina Asher-Smith -- as well as five Americans who could make the final at USATF Outdoors.

The U.S. contingent: Melissa Jefferson (2022 U.S. champ), TeeTee Terry (anchored 2022 World 4x100m relay winners), Sha’Carri Richardson (ran wind-aided 10.57 last month, fourth-fastest all-conditions time in history), Abby Steiner (2022 U.S. 200m champ) and Teahna Daniels (top American at Tokyo Olympics in seventh).

The top American in Doha will likely cement herself as an early favorite to make the three-woman 100m team for worlds.

Here are the Doha entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

11:04 a.m. -- Women’s Pole Vault
11:15 -- Men’s Discus
11:32 -- Men’s Triple Jump
12:04 -- Women’s 400m
12:17 -- Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
12:20 -- Men’s High Jump
12:34 -- Men’s 400m Hurdles
12:44 -- Men’s Javelin
12:48 -- Women’s 100m Hurdles
1 -- Men’s 800m
1:12 -- Women’s 100m
1:23 -- Men’s 3000m
1:41 -- Men’s 200m
1:50 -- Women’s 1500m

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s Pole Vault -- 11:04 a.m. ET
Field has the top five from last summer’s worlds, led by Americans Katie Moon and Sandi Morris, the gold and silver medalists. This year, Moon will look to become the first woman to repeat as world champ in the pole vault in 16 years, while Morris eyes her first global outdoor title after four silvers between the Olympics and worlds.

Men’s Triple Jump -- 11:32 a.m. ET
Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo, Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango and China’s Zhu Yaming swept the medals at the Olympics and worlds. They’re all entered in Doha. As is American Christian Taylor, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champ who missed the Tokyo Games with a ruptured Achilles. Taylor, now 32, was 18th at worlds while working his way back from the major injury. In one outing so far in 2023, he has already triple jumped farther than at any of his 10 meets in 2022.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase -- 12:17 p.m. ET
This event was rocked last month when reigning world champion Norah Jeruto of Kazakhstan was provisionally banned in a doping case involving her biological passport. The Doha field includes Olympic gold medalist Peruth Chemutai of Uganda, world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, American Emma Coburn, the 2017 World champion, and Mekides Abebe, the 21-year-old Ethiopian who took bronze at last year’s worlds.

Women’s 100m -- 1:12 p.m. ET
While Richardson made a statement with the 10.57, it’s Jackson who leads the early world rankings among wind-legal times with a 10.82 into a slight headwind two weeks ago. Jackson, 28, may be the world’s top female sprinter across all events. She took silver behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100m at last year’s worlds, then ran the second-fastest 200m time in history four days later.

Men’s 200m -- 1:41 p.m. ET
While Kerley, Norman and De Grasse have gold medals, the favorite here based on 200m experience and recent success should be American Kenny Bednarek, who took silver at the Tokyo Olympics and last year’s worlds. Unlike Kerley and Norman, Bednarek does not have a bye into any event at worlds, so he must be on his game come July’s USATF Outdoors. Bednarek, world bronze medalist Erriyon Knighton and Kerley are the early favorites to join Lyles on the world team in the 200m. If Norman doesn’t make the 100m team at USATF Outdoors, he could enter the 200m and/or accept his bye into the 400m at worlds.

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