Katarina Johnson-Thompson, IAAF World Championships, London 2017
Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock | Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Athletics | IAAF World Championships 2019 | Everything You Need To Know in Doha

By Neil Leverett

  • 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships begin on Friday 27 September in Doha, Qatar
  • Events take place at Khalifa International Stadium over ten days of competition between 27 September and 6 October
  • 209 recognized IAAF nations will compete for 49 Golds and 147 overall medals in Doha
DOHA, QATAR – Ahead of the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Qatar, Britwatch Sports gives you the lowdown on everything you need to know for the ten days in Doha.


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Athletics world descends on Doha

As the stars of track and field convene once more for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships, Doha in Qatar plays the role of host this year, with the Middle East set as the spectacular backdrop to ten days of intense, world class competition, as the finest men and women in the sport vie to be crowned World champion.

In what will be the 17th staging of the bi-annual competition after London hosted in 2017, for the first time sponsors of national teams will be permitted to appear on the kit that the athletes compete in, in a ground-breaking measure taken by the IAAF.

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Also, in a rarity for Athletics – due the extreme conditions in the Middle East – Doha will a stage marathons and both 20km and 50km walks at night, where temperatures will have dipped to a more comfortable level.

With all that considered and a two-hour time difference also in regard to UK times, here is everything you need to know ahead of the opening session at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar on Friday afternoon.


209 nations in attendance

Following Doha beating off strong competition from both Barcelona and Eugene to host the event in the voting process in November 2014, no less than 209 out of the 214 recognized IAAF nations will arrive in Qatar.

As well as an Athlete Refugee Team, for a total of 1972 final entries (1054 men and 918 women), due to the IAAF suspension of the Russian Athletics Federatio – confirmed on 23 September by the IAAF Council – Russian athletes will compete again as Authorised Neutral Athletes.

101 federations have entered only their best country athlete (25 of these athletes are women). IAAF members not participating include Libya, Liechtenstein, Montserrat, Norfolk Island and Tuvalu.


Qatar breaking ground

The 2019 championships will see a number of modifications to the timetable of the norm, including as documented a night marathon for both men and women taking place at 23:59 on both the opening day of events and Saturday 5th October.

Athletes will race in both 20km and 50km walks in the late evening also to accommodate competitors, as day temperatures reach in excess of 40 degrees celsius.

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Doha will also see a mixed 4x400m relay on the third day of competition – the first major example in an athletics championships. In what could be quite the spectacle as quartets of both sexes races together, the IAAF looks to bring in new audiences to the sport, after the huge success of the same events swimming have introduced in recent years, and who will vie for Olympic Gold next summer in Tokyo.

The relays traditionally serve an explosive end to the ten days and for a race most associated with cross-country skiing, adding a new element to be inserted into day 3 here, these championships are likely to put in place precedent for the global community to embrace.


Brits on show

Britain’s 73-strong squad will be on show in Doha, undoubtedly headlined by sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, as the Bromley Harrier arrives in Qatar as one of the strongest medal hopes for Team GB.

Adam Gemili and Zharnel Hughes will compete in both sprint events for the men, with the duo show their best form of the season after a chequered Diamond League campaign.

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson – like Asher-Smith will hope for a watershed moment in her career having won heptathlon Commonwealth Gold last March, but without a major world outdoor medal to her name until now, the now Monaco-based Liverpudlian will look to remedy that statistic.

Kyle Langford is a strong hope in what will be a loaded 800m, and after missing out on a medal in London two years ago by centimetres, whilst former Indoor world champion Laura Muir arrives at the worlds’ with a large question mark over her head, after the Scot sustained injured only six weeks ago.

Elsewhere, a rapidly improving Holly Bradshaw goes in the pole vault, Tom Bosworth competes in the men’s 20km walk, Matt Hudson-Smith looks to time his return from injury to perfection in the 400m whilst finally, both relays teams will again be a strong force – the 4x100m men as defending champions.



The stars to watch

Brits aside, the 2019 championships could be one of the most thrilling to date. As with any major athletics finals, the Blue Ribband event of the men’s 100m will take centre stage again, as Justin Gatlin looks to defend his title against the man who is perhaps favourite in Doha, Christian Coleman.

Having switched focus to the 200m, compatriot Noah Lyles is already threatening Usain Bolt‘s fastest times ever recorded and the Floridian in warm conditions, is expected the light up the track in Qatar, with few realistically set to challenge the American.

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Perhaps the biggest threat to a potential Asher-Smith gold in Qatar is the increasingly indomitable Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who despite a dip towards the end of the season, the Jamaican will look to again be crowned champion over the sprint distances. Both women’s sprint fields are set to be highly competitive.

With Shaunae Miller-Uibo opting to run in the 400m, expect the Bahamian to go close to a world record time in Doha, as Bahrain’s Salwa Eid-Naser looks to upset the odds on home Mesopotamian territory.

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As the woman who broke Svetlana Masterkova’s long-standing Mile record in Monaco earlier this year, Sifan Hassan could give the Netherlands a rare athletics gold but both the women’s 3000 and 5000m are set to hotly contested.

Whilst the women’s distance races are set to bet quite the spectacle, the men could usurp them as the dominant Timothy Cheruiyot looks to again keep the improving Ronald Musagala and the trio of Ingebrigtsen brothers at bay in both the 800 and 1500m.

Karsten Warholm has been one of the star attractions of the Diamond League season, and as the Norwegian looks to win back-to-back world titles, home favourite Abderrahman Samba as his chief rival should make for an electric 400m hurdles final. Watch for a fast time here, as Kevin Young‘s world setting time from 1992 looks under serious threat.

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The big hope for home fans lie at the feet of Mutaz Essa Barshim, who as the defending high jump world champion from London, will look to defend his title in his back yard. The Qatari however, will have hands full with Bohdan Bondarenko, fellow Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko, Australian Brendon Starc and Canada’s Michael Mason.


The events; When and how to watch

The championships will be broadcast across the BBC from the afternoon of Friday 27 September, on both television, radio and on the website. Follow Britwatch Sports each day for coverage from Doha.

As with the marathons and walks, the athletics timetable is slightly different to most world championships, with no morning session due to the heat in Doha. Instead, ten evening sessions of action will take place from mid-afternoon UK time to early evening.

With the additional mixed 4×400 relay also, the showpiece attraction final will start before the women’s 100m final on Sunday 29 September.

Here are the big events for your diary, UK time:


Saturday 28 September, men’s 100m final (8:15 pm)

Sunday 29 September, men’s triple jump final (7:45 pm)

Sunday 29 September 4x400m mixed relay finals (8:35 pm)

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Sunday 29 September women’s 100m final (9.:20 pm)

Monday 30 September women’s 800m final (8:10 pm)

Monday 30 September men’s 400m hurdles final (8:40 pm)

Tuesday 1 October men’s 800m final (8:10 pm)

Tuesday 1 October men’s 200m final (8:40 pm)

Wednesday 2 October women’s heptathlon begins (3:05 pm)

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Wednesday 2 October women’s 200m final (8:35 pm)

Wednesday 2 October men’s 110m hurdles (9:00 pm)

Thursday 3 October women’s 400m final (9:50 pm)

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Friday 4 October women’s 400m hurdles final (7:30 pm)

Friday 4 October men’s 400m final (8:20 pm)

Saturday 5 October women’s 1500m final (6:55 pm)

Saturday 5 October women’s 5000m final (7:25 pm)

Saturday 5 October 4x100m relay finals (8:05 pm)

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Sunday 6 October men’s 1500m final (5:40 pm)

Sunday 6 October women’s 1oom hurdles final (6:50 pm)

Sunday 6 October 4x400m relay finals (7:15pm)


The 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships begin on Friday 27 September, in Doha, Qatar.


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