Fast friends: Aaron Brown takes on U.S. club teammates at Doha Diamond League

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Should Aaron Brown need added motivation for the men’s 200-metre sprint at Friday’s Diamond League meet, he can look to his left or right along the start line at Qatar Sports Club.

Positioned in Lane 5, the Toronto native will have Kenny Bednarek and Courtney Lindsey, with whom he trains in Montverde, Fla., to his right. Two lanes to Brown’s left will be Kyree King, another American teammate from Star Athletics.

“I’ve trained with these guys all year so I have a good sense of where they will make their moves in the race,” Brown said from Doha, site of Friday’s meet. “I’m looking forward to testing out some things against familiar competition.”

Fresh off capturing a silver medal behind Bednarek and the United States at World Relays, Brown will make his outdoor season debut in the 200 at 12:23 p.m. ET. Live streaming coverage of the event begins at 12 p.m. on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports App and CBC Gem.

Lindsey boasts a season world-leading time of 19.71 while King has gone 20.11, but Brown told CBC Sports the chirping between friends has yet to begin.

“I expect that to come after the race [Friday],” he said. “We had to race each other in the Bahamas, so now it will be fun to race individually and see how we stack up against each other.

“The extra motivation to do well is there for sure as they’ve all put up great performances so far and I want to get on the board, too.”

WATCH | Brown runs 1st leg of Canada’s silver-medal performance at relay worlds:

U.S. victorious, Canada finishes 2nd in men’s 4x100m final at relay worlds

The United States captures the men’s 4×100-metre relay world title while Canada’s Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake, Brendon Rodney and Andre De Grasse claim silver at the World Athletics Relays.

Brown met the 20.16-second automatic Olympic entry standard in the 200 just 29 days after the July 1, 2023 qualifying window opened, clocking 20.10 at the Canadian track and field championships.

He is not among the 19 sprinters to have run the 10-second standard for Paris in the 100 but is 31st of the top 56 for Olympic selection, based on world ranking points.

Brown’s best time in Doha is 20.18 (2018, 2022) and he has placed as high as third three times, including last year.

“I am aiming to have the best race for myself at this point of the season knowing the ultimate goal is to be at my best in Paris,” he said.

“Last year I ran the 400 and 4×400 before my first 200, focusing on strength. This year, I’ve mapped out my season to do more short speed and [race] local [in Florida].

“I feel pretty good body-wise [from this time last year],” continued Brown, “and like that I am setting up for a later-season peak.”

Lumb set for 1st Diamond League 1,500m race

Vancouver’s Kieran Lumb is also making his Diamond League season debut at the third of 15 stops on the 2024 calendar.

It will mark the Olympic hopeful’s third appearance on the pro track and field circuit and first in the 1,500 after running the 3,000 last year (Stockholm) and in 2021 (Oslo, Norway).

Lumb, 25, opened his outdoor season at the Oregon Relays on April 19 in Eugene, Ore., competing in the 1,500 and distance medley relay.

Six weeks earlier, he was 13th in a 14-man field in the 1,500 at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow. His time of three minutes 41.37 seconds was well off his 3:34.55 personal and season best from 2023.

“One of the things I learned most from the final in Glasgow is the importance of being decisive with your positioning as well as running as relaxed as possible wherever you end up in the mix,” Lumb told CBC Sports.

“Oregon Relays was a fun meet to break up training [and] I think a race like that will probably pay dividends more later in the season when navigating tactical [heat and semifinal] rounds.”

Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot, a 2019 world gold medallist and four-time Diamond League champion, is also in Friday’s field for the 1:06 p.m. race. He hasn’t won the 1,500 since his last title victory in 2021.

Battle of champions in women’s pole vault

In women’s pole vault, world champion Nina Kennedy of Australia will battle newly crowned indoor gold medallist Molly Caudery of Great Britain at 11:02 a.m. ET.

Kennedy shared world gold with American Katie Moon last summer after both cleared 4.91 metres.

Caudery, who was fifth in Budapest, is the current world leader with a 4.86 clearance. She won her first global title and Britain’s first world indoor gold in a field event since 2012 with a leap of 4.80 in Glasgow.

Moon, who will aim to defend Olympic gold in Paris, withdrew from the Doha meet last week while continuing her recovery from an Achilles injury. She plans to compete at the Prefontaine Classic on May 25 in Eugene.

Back-to-back sprint wins for Neita?

British sprinter Daryll Neita will try to make it two victories in as many Diamond League races this season, this time in the women’s 100 at 1:28 p.m. ET.

The 27-year-old clocked 22.62 seconds two weeks ago to beat reigning world bronze medallist Sha’Carri Richardson of the U.S. in Suzhou, China.

Neita had only one previous victory in Diamond League, in the 200 last July 2 in 22.50 to defeat Dina Asher-Smith of Britain (22.58).

WATCH | Neita rules women’s 200m at Suzhou Diamond League:

Great Britain’s Daryll Neita wins Diamond League 200m over five Americans

A field loaded with sprinters from the U.S. could not beat Neita’s time of 22.62 in Shanghai/Suzhou.

Diamond League calendar

  • Doha, Qatar — Friday
  • Rabat/Marrakech — May 19
  • Eugene (Prefontaine Claissic) — May 25
  • Oslo, Norway — May 30
  • Stockholm — June 2
  • Paris — July 7
  • Monaco — July 12
  • London — July 20
  • Lausanne, Switzerland — Aug. 22
  • Silesia, Poland — Aug. 25
  • Rome — Aug. 30
  • Zurich — Sept. 5
  • Brussels (DL Final) — Sept. 13-14

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

A banner of upturned fists, with the words 'Being Black in Canada'.
(CBC)

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