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Kenyans chase Diamond League glory in Eugene

 Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates winning the 100M men final race during the Trials for World Athletics Championship held at Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi on July 08, 2023.[Stafford Ondego, Standard]

It will be a showdown like no other as the world’s greatest track and field athletes lineup at the Prefontaine Classic, the final leg of the World Athletics Diamond League series, on Saturday and Sunday.

Kenyan script reads from three-time world 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala, world 800m champion Mary Moraa to world 800m silver medalist Emmanuel Wanyonyi; all chasing a winner-takes-it all prize purse.

This Pre Classic sees the leading athletes from the 15-meeting series in 16 disciplines coming together as they try to win a Diamond Trophy plus a first prize of $30,000 (Sh4.38m) in their event and a wild card entry to the next World Athletics Championships.

World 1500m and 5000m champion Faith Kipyegon is set to race and after Eugene she plans to continue her brilliant season to the World Road Running Championships in Latvia in two weeks time.

In the women’s 1500m Kipyegon will be up against Britain’s Laura Muir, Melissa Courtney-Bryant and Ireland’s Ciara Mageean as well as world silver medallist Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia.

Kipyegon, who has broken three world records and won two gold medals (1500m and 5000m) at the World Championships in Budapest, will no doubt steal the show in Eugene this weekend.

  Faith Kipyegon of Kenya celebrates after the Women's 1500m final of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 22, 2023. [Xinhua/Wang Lili]

She set 1500m (3:49.11) world record in Florence, Italy; 5000m world record at the Paris Diamond League meet on June 9 in a new time of 14:05.20 before she descended on the one-mile record of 4:07.64 at the Diamond League meet in Monaco on July 21.

One of the highlights of the two-day programme will be the women’s 800m, where the medallists from Budapest last month have a rematch.

World champion Mary Moraa leads the line-up with world silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson of Britain and the Budapest bronze medallist Athing Mu of the United States also in the mix.

World silver medalist Emmanuel Wanyonyi and two-time Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal will be in action in the men's 800m that features world champion Marco Arop of Canada.

The men’s 100m showdown will see Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala, newly crowned world champion Noah Lyles and the silver medalist in Budapest Letsile Tebogo size up once again tomorrow night.

Omanyala goes to the final with the third fastest season's best of 9.84 behind 9.83 of both Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman.

World 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Beatrice Chepkoech will lead Jackline Chepkoech and Faith Cherotich against newly minted world champion Winfred Yavi of Bahrain.

 Mary Moraa of Kenya celebrates after the Women's 800m Final of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 27, 2023. [Xinhua/Li Ying]

World 5000m bronze medalist Beatrice Chebet and former world cross country silver medalist Lilian Kasait Rengeruk will line up in the 5000m.

World 3,000m steeplechase bronze medalist Abraham Kibiwott will marshal forces with Olympic bronze medalist Benjamin Kigen and Leonard Bett in their bid to stop world champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco in the water and barriers race battle.

America’s world 100m Sha'Carri Richardson and world pole vault record holder Mondo Duplantis will be in action.

It remains to be seen if Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis will set a new world record in Eugene.

The world’s best athletes are expected to compete in Oregon and there will be a wealth of other Olympic and World Champions fighting for glory.

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