Here are 13 quick and candid portraits of some of the athletes who competed at last Friday’s IAAF Diamond League series kick-off track meet in Doha, Qatar. Above is Nijel Amos from Botswana, the reigning Olympic silver medallist in the 800 meters. He ran so hard in that Olympic final —winner David Rudisha broke the world record— that he collapsed on the London track and had to be carried off on a stretcher. Just 18 at the time, he ended the race as the third fastest man in history. He finished second again on Friday —Mohamad Aman pictured below was the winner— but didn’t require any assistance this time.
With one exception, these were all taken in the days leading up to Friday’s competition during press points, informal meetings with the press. I was also doing other things so had to act fairly quickly; with no opportunity to set up shots, the result is this collection of snaps taken while the athletes were fielding questions. Below is Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi, one of the finest steeplechase runners of all time. Below that are high hurdlers David Oliver and Ryan Wilson of the U.S. and Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, the reigning Olympic silver medallist in the 400 meters, hanging out with the Qatari Mounted Police. I kind of liked the flares of light from shooting almost directly into the sun.
I spent most of the past 15 years reporting almost exclusively on elite track and field and distance running. I covered the last three Olympic Games from finish line seats and dozens of other events in more than 20 countries on four continents for a number of newspapers, magazines and websites. Although I decided to no longer concentrate so heavily on the sport, I am looking forward to the half dozen or so competitions I’ll be attending and covering through September. And the opportunity to make more informal portraits.
These were all taken under natural light with high ASA. I decided to render them in black and white simply because I’m trying to focus more on monochrome this year.
As always, thoughts, critiques and comments most welcome.