Cape Town - Five South African athletes will open their IAAF Diamond League campaign on Friday night, with world 800m champion Caster Semenya leading a strong contingent of local stars at the first leg of the annual series in Doha, Qatar.
Semenya, who won gold in the 800m and 1 500m at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last month, will turn out in her first Diamond League race over the metric mile after winning the 800m series for the last two years.
She is up against four women who have previously run faster than her 4:00.71 national 1 500m record set at the Gold Coast Games, with another quick time on the cards against a strong field.
Two other South African record holders are also in the start lists for the Doha meeting.
Sprinter Carina Horn takes part in the 100m women's sprint, after clocking 11.03 earlier this year as she inched closer to the sub-11 barrier, while former Olympic long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena lines up in the triple jump men's event.
In other disciplines, former Commonwealth Games champion Cornel Fredericks will compete in the 400m men;s hurdles race and Pieter Conradie is in the entry lists for the flat 400m men's contest.
The IAAF Diamond League series will consist of 14 meetings, with athletes earning points to qualify for two lucrative finals, to be held in Zurich and Brussels on August 30 and 31.
"Our best wishes to all South African athletes who are taking part tomorrow in the first IAAF Diamond League in Doha," said Aleck Skhosana, the president of Athletics South Africa.
Schedule of SA athletes (SA times):
17:40 - Triple Jump Men, Khotso Mokoena
18:03 - 400m Men, Pieter Conradie
18:13 - 1 500m Women Caster Semenya
18:26 - 100m Women, Carina Horn
18:53 - 400m Hurdles Men, Cornel Fredericks