For Fimke Ball, the athletics season starts in a few weeks

Jamaican Sherica Jackson is on course to win the 200m at the Diamond League in Zurich in September 2022. She will run the 100m in Doha.ANP/EPA image

1. Why are there no Dutch in the starting line-up for the Diamond League?

It’s still very early in the year, that’s the short answer. Many Dutch athletes have participated in indoor tournaments this winter and are still preparing for the outdoor season. For example, Fimik Paul, along with other hurdlers, is at a training camp in Turkey.

The opportunity to make money in the Diamond League has not attracted anyone from the Netherlands to Doha. Technical director Vincent Kortebeck is pleased with this. “It is good that the commercial side does not exceed the biggest goal of the season.”

About the author

Eric van Likerveld has been writing about Olympic sports such as speed skating, athletics and rowing since 2016.

This greater purpose? World Cup next August in Budapest. Those who want to be in good shape there will not benefit much from being in Doha. Only at the end of this month will Dutch athletes appear at competitions.

2. So what can be won in the Diamond League?

It depends a bit on who you are. Top athletes like Fimik Paul get paid to come in. The smaller gods are already happy with the invitation itself and are hoping to get something from the prize money.

Whoever wins a match gets $10,000, or more than 9,000 euros. Not to sneeze at second place (about 5,400 euros) and third place (more than 3,100 euros). The real big money can be made in the final, in September in US Eugene. There, the winner will receive more than 27 thousand euros.

Over the course of the entire season, the prize money can add up to a degree. Paul earned a total of around €72,000 in the Diamond League last year. Brazilian Alison dos Santos touched more in the 400-meter hurdles: more than $80,000.

3. Where does this money come from?

Mainly from China. Since 2019, the Chinese company Wanda has been the main sponsor of the Diamond League. The Diamond League had already visited China with matches in Shanghai, but the organization wanted to expand further into Asia.

Project developer Wanda didn’t get much value for money during her initial sponsorship years. Due to Covid, competitions cannot be held in China year after year. Borders opened again this season, although the meeting in Shanghai was again canceled due to the lack of a suitable stadium. Well on the calendar: Shenzhen, the megacity that borders Hong Kong.

Although eleven of the 14 competitions take place in Europe, with the final in Eugene, USA and the competitions in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, the athletes come from four continents. For example, the Diamond League with China again covers a large part of the world.

4. So no Dutch, but who are the big international players?

Even early in the athletics season, the Diamond League is attractive to many athletes. They are using the matches to get back in shape and are willing to travel to Qatar for it.

This is not a long journey for everyone. Take Olympic high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim. He came from Doha and the organization gave him every chance of winning at home: his biggest rival was missing out.

The field of participants in the men’s 200 meters is more attractive. There, Canadian Olympic champion Andre de Grasse will meet American Fred Curley, the current world champion in the 100m. They can expect a response from American Kenneth Bednarik, who took silver at last year’s World Cup, just like the Games.

5. And with women?

The fireworks also come in the sprint race with Sherika Jackson in the women’s 100-meter distance. She was a silver medalist at the World Cup last year and is the world champion in the 200m. With a 10.82 she posted the fastest time this early season.

Jamaican meets chakari richardson. In addition to her fast times, the American extrovert made a name for herself as she missed the Tokyo Olympics due to cannabis use. She returned in 2021 and settled into the top 10 fastest runners of all time with a 10.72. Then, she failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in her country.

Also on the track: Dina Asher-Smith, silver at the 2019 World Cup. She thinks it’s important to run the Diamond League early in the season, she said Thursday. “I think it’s best for you to compete against the best in the world.”

Lamentation breakthrough Torey Boy in the Diamond League

The Diamond League is a competition arena in which great champions emerge, but sometimes it is also the scene of an international breakthrough. Such was the case with American Tory Bowie, who passed away this week at the age of 32.

She had already established a modest reputation as a long jumper when she was allowed to try her luck in the 200m at the Diamond League in Eugene in May 2014. To everyone’s surprise, she sprinted ahead of Blessing Okagbare and famed Allyson Felix for the victory.

This was followed by a successful career with eight Diamond League wins, silver in the Olympics 100m and bronze in the 200m in Rio. She was also a member of the gold relay team at those Summer Games. In 2017, she reached her individual peak with the 100m world title.

It will not reach this height in the coming years. In Doha, where the international season begins on Friday, she achieved her last achievement at the 2019 World Cup. She finished fourth in the long jump.

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