Rabat Diamond League: Top global athletes head to Africa


Leading global athletes are set to compete at the 9th edition of the Meeting International Mohammed VI, the third leg of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League series, scheduled for 22 May at the Prince Moulay Abdellah sports complex in Rabat, Morocco.

According to the organizers, among the head-liners for this edition, the first IAAF Diamond League event to be held on African soil, are 20 athletes who have won medals at the Olympics, including six gold medals, nine one silver and five bronze medals, and 39 who won medals at the world championships (18 gold, 12 silver and nine bronze).

Among the confirmed entries unveiled on Monday (16) at a press conference held by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) in Rabat are: Lashawn Merritt (USA, 400m), a two-time world 400m and five-time world 4x400m champion;  Abdelaati Iguider (Morocco, 3000m), a bronze medalist at the London 2012 Olympics and at Beijing 2015 world championships; and Silas Kiplagat (Kenya, 1500m), silver medallist from Daegu 2011 world championships.

Others include: Italian Gianmarco Tamberi (High Jump), world indoor champion in Portland 2016;  Australian Fabrice Lapierre (Long Jump), world indoor champion in Doha 2010;  and Poland’s Piotr Malachowski (Discus), world champion in Beijing 2015 and Olympic silver medalist from Beijing, 2008.

Current world long jump leader Ruswahl Samaai of South Africa and Pan-American Games silver medallist Marquise Goodwin are also in the line-up for Rabat.

The women are not left out. Leading stars such as Ethiopian Almaz Ayana (5000m), world champion in Beijing 2015; Jamaican Elaine Thompson (100m), world 4x1oom champion in Beijing 2015; Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (100m), Commonwealth champion in Glasgow 2014; and Cuban Yarisley Silva (Pole Vault), world champion in Beijing 2015 are all confirmed.

Others include: Colombian Catherine Ibarguen (triple jump), Olympic silver medalist in London 2012 and world champion in Beijing 2015; American Cassandra Tate (400m Hurdles), bronze medalist in Beijing 2015; and Moroccan Rababe Arafi (800m), African champion in Porto-Novo 2012.

2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar

6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL