Six Brits set to add sparkle to Doha Diamond League


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The Independent Online

Inter-athlete spats and dismay over the sprinter Tyson Gay's reduced drug ban have acted as the precursor to the start of the outdoor season in Doha, Qatar, for the first of 14 Diamond League meetings across four continents.

The event will be missing its star attraction in David Rudisha, whose return after a year out has been curtailed by a fresh injury setback, but six Britons hope to shine in the Gulf state:

Chris Tomlinson (long jump)

The build-up to Tomlinson's season has been overshadowed by a heated disagreement with Greg Rutherford over the latter's British record of 8.51 metres set in the United States last month, which Tomlinson argued should not be ratified. After a tough season where he was pipped to World Championship selection by Rutherford, he will be determined to get back to his best and wrest back the national record, which he previously shared with his rival at 8.35m.

Brett Morse (discus)

Morse has been battling colitis since before the London Olympics, although the condition was only properly diagnosed in February 2013. It caused his weight to plummet. He has leaned on Rugby World Cup-winner Lewis Moody, a fellow colitis sufferer, for dietary advice and his management of the condition has noticeably improved. He struggled at last year's World Championships, failing to make the final despite being ranked eighth in the world at the time. Prior to Doha, he has competed in just one competition this year with a rather meagre personal best of 60.45m.

Brett Morse has suffered with colitis (Getty Images)

Eilidh Child (400m hurdles)

Injury caused the Scot to miss a month's training over the winter. As a result she ruled herself out of the individual 400m event at the World Indoors, instead focusing on captaining the side and running the opening leg as Britain won bronze in the 4x400m relay. Having returned from a spring training camp in Barcelona, she opens her 2014 campaign against a world-class field over the hurdles in Doha, including former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Lashina Demus.

Shelayna Oskan (800m)

Doha is a noticeable step up in class for the 24-year-old, who is the slowest athlete in the field as far as personal bests go. She is also comfortably the least well-known of the six British athletes in action in Doha on Friday night. However, a relative latecomer to athletics at the age of 14, the 800m runner was among those to be selected for On Camp with Kelly, a project run by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes. Oskan used to wear a good-luck necklace when competing and was also an accomplished hockey player in her youth.

Jenny Meadows (800m)

Recent years have been a struggle for Meadows, who had her £26,000 of funding removed by UK Athletics at the end of last year after a torrid time with injuries – first her Achilles, then a fractured thigh bone – after which she tumbled down the pecking order in middle-distance running. With no funding, prize money is key this season so Meadows will be hoping for an improvement on a mixed indoor campaign, now that the 32-year-old is seemingly fully recovered from her injuries. Her main target is to add to her medals tally, which includes world and European bronze medals as well as indoor gold and silver at European and world level.

Jenny Meadows has lost her funding (Getty Images)

Andrew Osagie (800m)

There were mixed feelings for Osagie when he picked up the second World Indoors medal of his career – once more a bronze – in Sopot in March. The Londoner had initially finished fourth but home favourite Marcin Lewandowski, a good friend of Osagie's, was disqualified for running infield. Osagie, tipped by Sebastian Coe to consistently win major championship medals, has set his sights on doing just that but he would rather not rely on the assistance of track officials to do so. Off the track, he can solve the Rubik's Cube in less than four minutes.