Athletics: Kenya’s elite squad keen to light up Oregon



Kenya’s elite runners will line up at the third leg of IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Eugene, Oregon, USA, tonight.

The event, which opens with a handful of events will have all eyes on the return of world record-holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha, who missed most of the 2013 season and the Diamond League season opener in Doha with a knee injury and will be making his Prefontaine Classic debut as he looks to confirm his fitness against a loaded field.

“I will do my best there. I want to stage my return in Eugene after missing out to compete there last year,” Rudisha told FeverPitch before leaving on Tuesday.

He will be up against Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman, who won gold in Rudisha’s absence at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Botswana’s Nijel Amos, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist and world junior record-holder at 1:41.73, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, who has beaten Rudisha five times in 13 meetings.

Two-time world champion Asbel Kiprop has broken 3:50 in the mile five times in Eugene and is the current 1500m world leader with his 3:29.18 clocking in Doha; and he will light up the Bowermile.

Most loaded

He will take on former world silver medalist Silas Kiplagat, who beat Kiprop by 0.05 to win last year’s race.

But the Bowerman Mile has some competition in the most-loaded-middle-distance-event category at this year’s Pre Classic as the women’s 1500m will trot out its deepest field of talent ever.

Leading the way will be 23-year-old Swede Abeba Aregawi, the world champion indoors and out.

Aregawi won the 2013 Diamond Trophy and her personal best of 3:56.54 is the fastest in the field.

World junior champion Faith Kipyegon is not far behind with a personal best of 3:56.98.

Compatriot Hellen Obiri, who powered Kenya to a world record in the 4x1500m at the IAAF World Relays last weekend, is the defending champion, having won last year’s title in a US all-comers record of 3:58.58.

World 800m champion Eunice Sum and 2008 Olympic 1500m champion Nancy Langat are Kenya’s other entrants.

World silver medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia, who ran a world junior record of 12:47.53 last year, and world bronze medallist Isaiah Koech will light up men’s 5,000m.