2023 Doha DL Recap: Girma Wins Stacked 3k, Kipyegon Still Rules the 1500

The 2023 Diamond League season kicked off on Friday in Doha with some quick times and exciting races. The big story from a US perspective was Sha’Carri Richardson earning her first career Diamond League win in the 100 meters, which we covered in our Doha sprint recap here. Other big stories included indoor 3k Lamecha Girma taking his mastery of the event outdoors and winning a loaded 3000m in 7:26 and Faith Kipyegon extending her rule over the women’s 1500 by winning again despite a challenge from 20-year-old Ethiopian Diribe Welteji. The news was not quite as good for American steeplers, however, as Emma Coburn was just 10th in 9:29 after an early fall and Val Constien dropping out after falling to the ground in pain following an awkward water jump (Constien later shared on Instagram Stories that the injury was “probably just a strain.”

Full recap and analysis of all distance and field events below.

*Full results

Men’s 3000: Lamecha Girma Shows Why He’s the Best 3000m Runner in the World

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The men’s 3000m featured a loaded field with world indoor record holder Lamecha Girma facing World and Olympic steeple champ Soufiane El Bakkali, Olympic 10,000m champ Selemon Barega, and World XC runner-up Berihu Aregawi, plus former World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot in his 1500m debut.

The cream rose to the top in this one as those five swept the top five places as Girma powered away from the field over the final lap to win with ease. Cheruiyot got dropped on the fifth lap when Girma ran a 58.0 and El Bakkali fell off with 600m to go, making it a three-man race as Girma seized the lead from Aregawi before the bell.

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Girma opened a gap up on the backstretch and would maintain it or slightly lengthen it the final 200m. The final lap wasn’t crazy fast (57.3), but the overall pace was fairly hot, and Girma got the win in 7:26.18, Barega, second in a pb of 7:27.16, and Aregawi third in 7:27.61. It was just the third time three men broke 7:28 in the same race, with the other two races coming in Doha in 2011 and indoors in Lievin in 2021.


1. Lamecha GIRMA 26 NOV 2000 ETH 7:26.18
2. Selemon BAREGA 20 JAN 2000 ETH 7:27.16
3. Berihu AREGAWI 28 FEB 2001 ETH 7:27.61
4. Soufiane EL BAKKALI 07 JAN 1996 MAR 7:33.87
5. Timothy CHERUIYOT 20 NOV 1995 KEN 7:36.72
6. Getnet WALE 16 JUL 2000 ETH 7:36.81
7. Andreas ALMGREN 12 JUN 1995 SWE 7:37.05
8. Mohamed Amin JHINAOUI 02 APR 1997 TUN 7:37.56
9. Ishmael KIPKURUI 10 FEB 2005 KEN 7:39.84
10. Telahun Haile BEKELE 13 MAY 1999 ETH 7:40.29
11. Adel MECHAAL 05 DEC 1990 ESP 7:41.42
12. Matthew RAMSDEN 23 JUL 1997 AUS 7:47.71
Callum DAVIES 18 JUL 1999 AUS DNF
Stewart MCSWEYN 01 JUN 1995 AUS DNF
Kyumbe MUNGUTI 28 FEB 1995 KEN DNF
Adam Ali MUSAB 17 APR 1995 QAT DNF

Quick Take: Could the steeple world record go this year?

El Bakkali still is the man to beat in the steeple but as fast as Girma is running at 3000m this year, El Bakkali may have his hands full. Saif Saaeed Shaheen’s world record of 7:53.63 dates to 2004. Could this be the year it goes?

El Bakkali’s height and hurdle technique help him close the gap on the advantage Girma has in terms of flat speed but the steeple could be one of the best events in 2023.

Quick Take: Girma should consider the double at Worlds

We’d love to see what Girma does in a few 5000’s this year, but the double at worlds is very doable with all the steeple rounds before the start of the 5000m.

Quick Take: There are two ways to look at Timothy Cheruiyot’s run

On our live post-race instant reaction show, which we normally air 10 minutes after each Diamond League meet (sign up for our Supporters Club to listen to it as a podcast), a viewer asked if today’s result for Cheruiyot meant he was washed as he was uncompetitive for the win.

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We do not think so and are optimistic. The biggest thing for us is he’s trying new things. Up until last year, he was always one of the top two milers in the world and last year he was a bit more inconsistent. Rather than repeat what he’s done in the past, he’s clearly tried to get stronger.

This is a guy who had never run a 3000 before and only had a 5000 pb of 13:47.2 (at altitude). To make your debut in the 3k at Doha is like jumping into the deep end when you don’t even know how to swim and Cheruiyot did more than just flail and wait to be rescued. He ran more than respectably.

Yes, he got dropped when the pace ratched down on the 5th lap. Girma ran a 58.0 and Cheruiyot only ran 61.4 and he followed that with a 63.8 6th lap. At that point, it could have gotten ugly but Cheruiyot responded and competed quite well, closing in 1:29.9 for the 600, which included a 28.4 final 200 (13.7 final 200).

Women’s 1500: Faith Kipyegon is still the queen

How do you beat someone in a 1500 when they’re stronger than you and faster than you? The lesson, one Faith Kipyegon has taught many times over the years, is that you don’t. Since the start of 2017, only one woman has defeated Kipyegon in a 1500m race: Sifan Hassan, who is currently recovering from winning the London Marathon. For everyone else, Kipyegon has proven unbeatable. Front-runners like Gudaf Tsegay cannot drop her, and kickers cannot run away from her. She is just too good.

Kipyegon opened her 2023 season with yet another victory – her 11th straight at 1500 meters after a perfect 2022 – and this time it was her kick that powered her to victory. Rather than battle the wind, Kipyegon let the rabbit go early, and with no one in the field daring to pass Kipyegon, she hit 800 in 2:10.4. By the bell, she still had plenty of company, with 20-year-old Ethiopian Diribe Welteji (4th at Worlds in the 800 last year) edging onto her shoulder on the first turn. Those two began to separate on the final turn, and while Welteji put up a good fight, Kipyegon was ultimately too good for her, closing in 58.8 for her last lap (28.9 for her last 200) to win in a world-leading 3:58.57. Welteji was 2nd in 3:59.34 with Ethiopian countrywoman Freweyni Hailu 3rd (4:00.29) and Aussies Jessica Hull (4:00.90) and Abbey Caldwell (4:01.15) 4th and 5th. American Cory McGee was 10th in 4:06.03.

1. Faith KIPYEGON 10 JAN 1994 KEN 3:58.57
2. Diribe WELTEJI 13 MAY 2002 ETH 3:59.34
3. Freweyni HAILU 12 FEB 2001 ETH 4:00.29
4. Jessica HULL 22 OCT 1996 AUS 4:00.90
5. Abbey CALDWELL 03 JUL 2001 AUS 4:01.15
6. Birke HAYLOM 06 JAN 2006 ETH 4:01.86
7. Hirut MESHESHA 20 JAN 2001 ETH 4:02.25
8. Axumawit EMBAYE 18 OCT 1994 ETH 4:03.40
9. Konstanze KLOSTERHALFEN 18 FEB 1997 GER 4:05.63
10. Cory Ann MCGEE 29 MAY 1992 USA 4:06.03
11. Lemlem HAILU 25 MAY 2001 ETH 4:08.38
12. Georgia GRIFFITH 05 DEC 1996 AUS 4:15.49
13. Angelika CICHOCKA 15 MAR 1988 POL 4:17.75
14. Winny CHEBET 20 DEC 1990 KEN 4:24.21

Quick Take: Kipyegon reiterated her desire to get the WR after this one was over

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“It was an exciting race, but a little bit windy, so I decided to not push too much and just focus on winning the race,” Kipyegon told meet organizers. “I have been training well. I really like racing in Doha; the crowd and fans are really amazing.

“I’m really grateful to be here, and looking forward to the rest of the season. My big goal is to win the World Championships, and to break the world record this summer.”

Quick Take: Welteji was impressive

Kipyegon deserves props – her ability to consistently churn out world-class performances is incredible – but she has been on a different level to all other women’s 1500 runners for a while now so her victory today was not surprising. Welteji, meanwhile, was able to hang with Kipyegon much longer than most athletes usually do, with Kipyegon only opening up a real gap during the final 100 meters.

Welteji was impressive this year indoors, running 8:33 and 8:34 in a pair of 3k victories and has some great range as she has also run 1:57.02 for 800 meters. For her to be able to close in 59.2 today in her outdoor opener and be competitive with Kipyegon for 1400 meters is a very good sign of her progress – and she’s still just 20 years old.

Women’s steeple: Yavi wins it as disaster strikes for Americans

The women’s steeple in Doha was full of drama in the final lap. Unfortunately, neither Emma Coburn nor Val Constien, the two Americans who made the trip to Qatar for this race, were anywhere close to it after a couple of unfortunate mishaps early in the race.

Up front, the race came down to Kenyan-born Winfred Yavi of Bahrain, the 4th placer at the last two Worlds, and budding star Sembo Almayew, the world junior silver medallist from Ethiopia who ran 9:09 last year to set a world U18 best. 

After following behind the pacer and world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech for most of the race, Yavi took the lead at the bell, but Almayew was right on her shoulder. Almayew attacked several times on the outside, trying to seize the lead, and while she briefly edged ahead on the back straight, Yavi responded and had a half-stride lead entering the final turn. Both women had good final water jumps, but Yavi had one more move to make coming into the home straight, opening a gap that Almayew could not close. She took the win in 9:04.38 while Almayew had to settle for second in 9:05.83.

Both Americans struggled in this one. Coburn fell on the second lap after Jackline Chepkoech took out her right leg as shown here:

While Coburn was able to get up quickly, she was gapped and struggled home in 10th place in 9:29.41. Constien had an even worse night as she landed awkwardly in the water pit, limping off the track and collapsing on the infield, screaming in pain.

1. Winfred Mutile YAVI 31 DEC 1999 BRN 9:04.38
2. Sembo ALMAYEW 24 JAN 2005 ETH 9:05.83
3. Faith CHEROTICH 13 JUL 2004 KEN 9:06.43
4. Beatrice CHEPKOECH 06 JUL 1991 KEN 9:06.90
5. Maruša MIŠMAŠ ZRIMŠEK 24 OCT 1994 SLO 9:13.61
6. Zerfe WONDEMAGEGN 26 OCT 2002 ETH 9:13.80
7. Jackline CHEPKOECH 03 OCT 2003 KEN 9:17.15
8. Mekides ABEBE 29 JAN 2001 ETH 9:18.96
9. Marwa BOUZAYANI 26 MAR 1997 TUN 9:25.37
10. Emma COBURN 19 OCT 1990 USA 9:29.41
11. Peruth CHEMUTAI 10 JUL 1999 UGA 9:31.71
Doris Lengole CHEROP 05 FEB 2002 KEN DNF
Valerie CONSTIEN 21 MAR 1996 USA DNF

Quick Take: Big win for Yavi, but Almayew may be the one to watch moving forward

Yavi is the sixth-fastest woman in history and broke 9:00 twice last year but has yet to earn a global medal (though she was 4th at Worlds last year and champion Norah Jeruto has since been suspended for a doping violation). This year could be her year, and she started her 2023 campaign by defeating a great field tonight in Doha. But she needs to keep an eye on her rearview mirror. Last year, Sembo Almayew ran 9:09 as a 17-year-old, and now at 18 she has lowered her pb to 9:05.83 in her first race out. We don’t think she’s done improving.

Both Yavi and Almayew look capable of running faster – the first and last kilometers were both run in 2:58 today, but the pace slipped in the middle (3:07 2nd km) to prevent a truly fast time.

Quick Take: A worrying start for Emma Coburn

Coburn hasn’t had the smoothest week in Doha. The airline lost her luggage, which included her uniform and spikes on her flight out (they were in her carry-on, but it was gate-checked), and New Balance had to fly Kimarra McDonald out from Boston with replacements. Then on the second lap, Coburn was in fine hurdling position on the inside but Jackline Chepkoech veered left off the hurdle, taking out Coburn’s right leg and sending her to the ground.

Obviously falling hurts, but Coburn has fallen in the past and got up to finish well (she fell before 2k at Pre in 2019 and still ran 9:04). In this race, however, Coburn fell behind quickly and was never competitive. Her time of 9:29.41 was her slowest in a steeple final since Brussels in September 2015 (9:32.13), and her 10th place was her lowest finish in a race since Monaco in July 2015. Coming off a largely disappointing 2022 season, this is not the way Coburn will have wanted to start in 2023. Fans have no idea of knowing how much being taken out impacted her race, so it might be best to view her next race as her season opener. For her part, Coburn said this after the race on Twitter:

I got in a collision early on in the race and then spent too much energy trying to catch up and died pretty badly my last 500m.”

Men’s 800: Moula Wins Tactical Affair

Algeria’s Slimane Moula, who had a breakout campaign last year which saw him finish 5th at Worlds, showed he’s not going to be a flash in a pan as he got the win in a tactical men’s 800 in 1:46.09, thanks to a 51-flat final 400 (37.2 final 200). Moula ran down Kenya’s Wycliffe Kinyamal, the 1:43.12 performer who was 8th at Worlds last year, in the final 100 as Kinyamal was second in 1:46.61 with World Championship silver medallist Djamel Sedjati of Algeria third in 1:46.97. American Clayton Murphy was best of the rest in 1:47.96.

No one went with rabbit Erik Sowinski as 2022 world indoor silver medallist Noah Kibet, who now trains with Pete Julian in the US, was content to let this turn tactical. Kibet was the fastest racer at 400 (54.9) but this race didn’t really get going until the 500-meter mark when Kinyamal took off, running a 12.5 to open up a gap on the field. As is often the case in slow races, it’s a bit hard to perfectly judge your kick and Kinyamal was run down.

Murphy ran most of the race in 5th but fought to move up to 4th in the homestretch while Kibet, who was racing in the kit of the Union Athletics Club (indoors, he ran in the regular Nike kit despite training with UAC) ended up last in 1:49.95.

1. Slimane MOULA 25 FEB 1999 ALG 1:46.06
2. Wyclife Kinyamal KISASY 02 JUL 1997 KEN 1:46.61
3. Djamel SEDJATI 03 MAY 1999 ALG 1:46.97
4. Clayton MURPHY 26 FEB 1995 USA 1:47.96
5. Moad ZAHAFI 09 MAY 1998 MAR 1:48.17
6. Andreas KRAMER 13 APR 1997 SWE 1:48.18
7. Mark ENGLISH 18 MAR 1993 IRL 1:48.56
8. Musaeb Abdulrahman BALLA 19 MAR 1989 QAT 1:48.88
9. Abdirahman Saeed HASSAN 13 APR 1997 QAT 1:49.03
10. Noah KIBET 12 APR 2004 KEN 1:49.95

Field Events

Women’s Pole Vault: Moon clears early world leader

American Katie Moon (nee Nageotte; she was married on New Year’s Eve) has been the world’s best female pole vaulter the last two years, winning Olympic and world titles. She started her 2023 outdoor campaign on a high note as she cleared a world-leading 4.81 meters, the only woman in the competition to do so.

1. Katie MOON 13 JUN 1991 USA 4.81
2. Tina ŠUTEJ 07 NOV 1988 SLO 4.76
3. Sandi MORRIS 08 JUL 1992 USA 4.71
4. Aikaterini STEFANIDI 04 FEB 1990 GRE 4.55
4. Roberta BRUNI 08 MAR 1994 ITA 4.55
6. Bridget WILLIAMS 18 MAR 1996 USA 4.55
7. Nina KENNEDY 05 APR 1997 AUS 4.45
8. Alysha NEWMAN 29 JUN 1994 CAN 4.45
9. Wilma MURTO 11 JUN 1998 FIN 4.30

Men’s Discus: Ceh wins x4

World champ Kristjan Čeh had four throws that were better than everyone else with his best of 70.89 coming in the first round.

1. Kristjan ČEH 17 FEB 1999 SLO 70.89
2. Daniel STÅHL 27 AUG 1992 SWE 67.14
3. Sam MATTIS 19 MAR 1994 USA 64.69
4. Matthew DENNY 02 JUN 1996 AUS 64.42
5. Lawrence OKOYE 06 OCT 1991 GBR 64.31
6. Simon PETTERSSON 03 JAN 1994 SWE 64.30
7. Alin Alexandru FIRFIRICA 03 NOV 1995 ROU 62.98
8. Moaaz Mohamed IBRAHIM 08 FEB 1999 QAT 61.92
9. Nicholas PERCY 05 DEC 1994 GBR 58.49
10. Essa Mohamed AL ZENKAWI 17 OCT 1992 KUW 56.80

Men’s Javelin: Chopra wins with world lead

In his 2023 season opener, Olympic champ Neeraj Chopra of India threw a world-leading 88.67 in round one, which narrowly held up as the win as previous world leader Jakub Valdlejch, the Olympic silver medallist, threw 88.63 the second round.

1. Neeraj CHOPRA 24 DEC 1997 IND 88.67
2. Jakub VADLEJCH 10 OCT 1990 CZE 88.63
3. Anderson PETERS 21 OCT 1997 GRN 85.88
4. Julian WEBER 29 AUG 1994 GER 82.62
5. Andrian MARDARE 20 JUN 1995 MDA 81.67
6. Keshorn WALCOTT 02 APR 1993 TTO 81.27
7. Roderick Genki DEAN 30 DEC 1991 JPN 79.44
8. Curtis THOMPSON 08 FEB 1996 USA 74.13
Oliver HELANDER 01 JAN 1997 FIN NM
Julius YEGO 04 JAN 1989 KEN NM

Men’s Triple Jump: Pichardo goes 17.91w

Reigning world and Olympic champ Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Portugal opened up 2023 with a very strong 17.91m (+2.1) win. The only time Pichardo jumped farther in his season opener was in 2015 when he opened at 17.94 and then jumped his pb of 18.08 a few weeks later.

1. Pedro PICHARDO 30 JUN 1993 POR 17.91
2. Hugues Fabrice ZANGO 25 JUN 1993 BUR 17.81
3. Andy DÍAZ HERNÁNDEZ 25 DEC 1995 CUB 17.80
4. Lázaro MARTÍNEZ 03 NOV 1997 CUB 17.71
5. Yaming ZHU 04 MAY 1994 CHN 16.95
6. Jah-Nhai PERINCHIEF 31 DEC 1997 BER 16.86
7. Emmanuel IHEMEJE 09 OCT 1998 ITA 16.85
8. Donald SCOTT 23 FEB 1992 USA 16.81
9. Christian TAYLOR 18 JUN 1990 USA 16.53
10. Eldhose PAUL 07 NOV 1996 IND 15.84
Jah-Nhai PERINCHIEF 31 DEC 1997 BER 16.73
Christian TAYLOR 18 JUN 1990 USA 16.27

Men’s High Jump: Harrison upsets Barshim

There’s usually a men’s high jump in Doha because of native son Mutaz Essa Barshim, and while Barshim gets it done when it counts – he was won the last four global outdoor titles – victory in Doha has eluded him recently. After wins in 2017 and 2018, Barshim was 2nd in the Doha DL in 2021 and 2022 and only 3rd in 2023 as he could only clear a best of 2.24m on Friday. Instead, it was American JuVaughn Harrison who earned his second career DL win by clearing 2.32m, just 4 cm off his pb.

1. JuVaughn HARRISON 30 APR 1999 USA 2.32
2. Sanghyeok WOO 23 APR 1996 KOR 2.27
3. Mutaz Essa BARSHIM 24 JUN 1991 QAT 2.24
4. Norbert KOBIELSKI 28 JAN 1997 POL 2.18
5. Shelby MCEWEN 06 APR 1996 USA 2.18
6. Edgar RIVERA 13 FEB 1991 MEX 2.18
7. Thomas CARMOY 16 FEB 2000 BEL 2.15
Django LOVETT 06 JUL 1992 CAN NM
Tomohiro SHINNO 17 AUG 1996 JPN NM

More: Sprint Recap: 2023 Doha Sprint Recap: Sha’Carri Richardson Earns First Diamond League Win, Kerley Wins 200m Showdown Track and field’s opening day entertained as no one shined brighter than Sha’Carri Richardson.

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