DOHA: The outdoor athletics season gets under way proper today when the Qatar Sports Club hosts the first-leg of the prestigious 14-meet Diamond League, with all eyes on this summer's Olympic Games in London.
Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt will be absent, however, having preferred to make his season debut on home soil last weekend.
But a top-quality field has nevertheless been assembled for the kick-off of the global circuit that also sees events held in Shanghai, Rome, Eugene (US), Oslo, New York, Paris, London and Monaco before the London Olympics.
The second part of the season recommences in Stockholm on August 17, and takes in Lausanne (Switzerland), Birmingham (England) and Zurich before climaxing in Brussels.
World 800m champion David Rudisha of Kenya was in no doubt about what the season had in store.
Star draws include not only Rudisha, who was deprived of an early season showdown with Ethiopian upstart Mohammed Aman (late withdrawal), but also former joint world record holders Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin facing off in the men's 100m.
The US will be hoping for a sprint double with American Walter Dix.