Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net
Distance races at the 2015 Prefontaine Classic DL indicate what will happen in Beijing world championships, by Justin Lagat
In 2013, at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League’s 3000m steeplechase event, Conseslus Kipruto won the race, Ezekiel Kemboi was second, Paul Koech was third, Mekhissi Benabbad was fourth and Evan Jager was fifth. Coincidentally, the first five positions at the Moscow world championships that same year were taken by the same runners with slight changes in their positions. Kemboi won Gold, Conseslus Silver, Mekhissi Bronze, Paul Koech finished fourth and Evan Jager finished fifth.
Wilson versus Sum, photo by PhotoRun.net
This was more or less the case in most of the other events too and is the reason why the just concluded Eugene Diamond League event might just be a great indication of what will likely happen this year at the world championships in Beijing.
However, there are also athletes who may turn out to be some of the main contenders there even if they did not turn up to run in Eugene, and also those who actually turned up but participated in different events that are not their specialties. But, the results from the Eugene Diamond League are worth considering in making the predictions for Beijing.
Starting with the women 800m, Eunice Sum won in a close finish against Ajee Wilson. Brenda Martinez came in third as Abeba Aregawi and Janeth Jepkosgei finish in fourth and fifth positions respectively. So, it won’t be far-fetched to predict that the world championship title in this event this year will likely go to Sum or Wilson, the other contenders will include Brenda Martinez and Janeth Jepkosgei, and also Abeba Aregawi if she will choose to run in the distance.
Kemboi versus Birech, photo by PhotoRun.net
The Bowerman mile predicted the possible outcome of the men’s 1500m race at the world championships. This race was won by Ayanleh Souleiman, Mathew Centrowitz was second, Asbel Kiprop third, Silas Kiplagat fourth and James Magut fifth. In the same race in 2013, Kiplagat had won it, Kiprop was second and Mathew Centrowitz was a distant 10th but at the Moscow championships Kiplagat and Matthew Centrowitz finished contrary to the expectations of many and served to remind us that surprises also do happen. Kiprop won a gold medal, Centrowitz won a silver while Kiplagat faded to sixth position.
Absent at this year’s 3000m Steeplechase race was Mekhissi Benabbad and the new sensation, Jairus Birech came out to take his space after battling it out with Ezekiel Kemboi up to the finish line. Adding to the list of the top five contenders for the world title out of the Eugene results now are Conseslus Kipruto, Evan Jager and Paul Koech.
In the women’s 5000m, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba won the race comfortably ahead of Kenya’s Faith Chepngetich, Vivian Cheruiyot and Sally Kibiego while Alemitu Harote of Ethiopia finished fifth. But, it would have been more interesting if Ayana Almaz who ran a fantastic race in Doha was also in this race. It is also important to note that some athletes here may choose to run in the 10,000m at the world championships.
Yomif Kechelcha, Edwin Soi, Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat and Albert Rop finished the 5000m race in that order. There will be other contenders in this race at the world championships, but one or two of the top three finishers here will definitely be in the podium.
Mo Farah won the 10,000m race followed by Paul Tanui and Geoffrey Kamworor. Fourth and fifth positions were taken by Cameron Levins and Geoffrey Kirui respectively. It is always hard for Kenyan athletes to make it to the Kenyan team in long distance races, and the three Kenyans here still have a big task ahead of making the team first. Paul Tanui and Mo Farah were in the podium places at the 2013 Moscow world championships and a possibility of the two ending up there again is high.
But still, there are some strong athletes out there who may have taken late to begin their season this year due to injuries, or lack of invitations to big races and may turn up at the world championships and even take the titles.