The Pre Classic is the third of fourteen Diamond League Meetings in 2017. The two day Eugene Diamond League has its Friday night dedicated to women in athletics. On the second day, the best three hours of track in North America this year will go down. Make sure that you are there, or watching it! Here’s Justin Lagat’s take on the distance races in Eugene!
The lineup in the men’s 5000m event at the Eugene Diamond League race looks more likely to comprise of runners who will be in the leading pack in both the men’s 10,000m and 5000m events at the IAAF world championships in London come August. After all, Mo Farah, Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Tanui, will be the world defending medalists in the 10,000m event while Farah, Galeb Ndiku and Hagos Gebrhiwet will be defending their 5000m medals in London. All of these runners will be running in the 5000m event. Whoever will win this race will definitely be one athlete to watch going into the world championships in London.
Farah who holds the meeting record of 12:56.98 which he set in 2012 is arguably the favorite to win, but, looking at the strong line up, victory can never be assured for him.
Besides the top Kenyans and Ethiopians, there will be strong Ugandans and Americans too. Uganda’s Joshua Cheptigei who displayed a dramatic finish in the men’s senior race at the IAAF world cross country championships in March, after running out too fast and remaining with no more strength to run toward the finish, will get the opportunity to practice what he learned; run well and finish strong this time round after what happened to him there. It will also be another chance for him to compete again against Geoffrey Kamworor who ran him down in his home country.
Kiplimo Jacob, fresh from his huge win in the junior race at the world cross country championships will also be there to confirm his new status as a one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of his country.
Rio Olympic silver medalist, Paul Chelimo and Ben True will be among the Americans who will enjoy the cheering of their home ground fans in this event. Perhaps the home crowd may help propel them to go for the win.
Other contenders from other countries will include Amhed Mohammed of Canada and Albert Rop of Bahrain, among others.
Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting has always produced great middle and long distance performances and this year’s won’t be different. Genzebe Dibaba will be aiming for a very fast time in the women’s 5000m event that will happen on the first day of the meeting, on 26th. Although this race will not earn the athletes any points in the Diamond League series, it should be an exciting race with ten other athletes in the start list having run personal best times under 15 minutes.
Another distance event that will be exciting with no Diamond League points on the evening of 26th will be the women’s 3000m steeplechase where Ruth Jebet will be hoping to maintain a winning streak against Beatrice Chepkoech, Assefa Sofia, Emma Coburn and Purity Kirui, among other best world women steeple chasers.
Top seven women in last year’s Rio Olympic Games 800m event; Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba, Margaret Nyairera, Melissa Bishop, Joanna Jozwik, Lindsay Sharp and Marina Arzamasova who finished 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 respectively will all be competing in the women’s 800m event and it will be interesting to watch if the order will remain the same. However, with a personal best time of 1:57.95, Selina Buchel is sure to break that order.
The climax of the Pre Classic meeting will be, as usual, the men’s Bowerman Men Mile. Asbel Kiprop, who holds the Diamond League record in the 1500m event will lead other fast runners that include the reigning Olympic champion, Mathew Centrowitz; Elijah Manangoi, Silas Kiplagat, Ronald Kwemoi, Souleiman Ayanleh and Bethwel Birgen, among other big names in the men’s middle distance running.