Impressive Entry Lists for Eugene
I am very excited ahead of this weekend’s IAAF meeting in Eugene: Two athletes I had chosen as my favorites for this season, Asbel Kiprop and David Rudisha, have so far each collected two trophies, 4 points, and both will be racing again this weekend at the Eugene Diamond League. Also, for the first time this year, two times Olympic and three times World Champion, and my training mate, Ezekiel Kemboi, will be running in the 3000m steeplechase.
The entry lists in all the events that will take place are so impressive and a lot of excitement is already building up amongst track fans ahead of this year’s Prefontaine Classic meeting slated for 31st May- 1st June. Contestants in the men’s 800m event have all run within 1:43 minutes and below. Just for you to get an idea on how fast these times are, the “A” standard qualifying time for the world championships is 1:45.30. David Rudisha, whose PB is 1:40.91, is expected to face a tough competition from Aman Mohammed and Timothy Kitum. Two Americans who have also run under 1:43, Solomon Duane and Symmonds Nick, are most likely to attract a lot of local cheerers during the event.
The Bowerman mile that will feature world champion, Asbel Kiprop; Olympic champion, Makhloufi Tauofik, Gebremedhin Mekonnen, Nixon Chepseba and Silas Kiplagat, among other bigwigs in the 1500m distance, will be another of the highly anticipated events. To ensure a great treat to the local fans, there will be two highly celebrated Americans in this field too; Manzano Leonel and Mathew Centrowitz.
Sometimes, disappointments can make an athlete come back into competition more determined and stronger, and this seems to be the case for Asbel after his Olympic disappointments last year. He is poised to do great this year. I can’t wait to watch him race in Monaco on 19th July; there is a surprise he has promised to try there.
While Ezekiel Kemboi is perhaps the most decorated athlete with many titles and honors in the 3000m steeplechase, Paul Kipsiele Koech has the fastest PB time. Some people often argue that Ezekiel Kemboi is only good in big championship races where he represents his country, but not very well at the Diamond League races. I guess we shall see about that during the race! Also present in this event and likely to snatch the win are Mekhissi Benabbad of France and Conselsus Kipruto of Kenya, the latter being a new athlete in the league but showing a great shape after winning at the Shanghai League a few weeks ago.
Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp will welcome to their country a stellar field of some of the world’s top runners in the 5000m event. Eight of the athletes in this field have personal best times within 12 minutes with Alamerew Yenew’s 12:48:77 being the fastest. Isaiah Koech and Thomas Longosiwa are the athletes to watch here, although there may be surprises from others like the African 10,000m champion, Kenneth Kipkemoi.
The men’s 10,000m, which will as well be used by Ethiopia to select their national team to Moscow, will be more of a precursor of what will happen at the world championship event given that the athletes running here are likely to meet again there. They include Mo Farah, Kenenisa Bekele, Bidan Karoki, Vincent Chepkok, Tariku Bekele and Emmanuel Bett, among others.
On the women’s side, the 1500m race will feature Faith Chepng’etich, Jamal Yusuf, Nancy Jebet Lang’at, Saboleva Yelena, Hellen Obiri and Eunice Sum. Two strong Russians, Savinova Mariya and Poistogova Yekaterina, will give a strong competition to Alysia Montano and Janeth Jepkosgei. Burka Gelete, Mercy Cherono, Tirunesh Dibaba and Linet Maasai will meet in the 5000m event.
To me, the Eugene Diamond League is set to be one of the greatest meetings to remember.