Strong field for Prefontaine Classic meeting in Eugene

By JONATHAN KOMEN: Thursday, May 24th 2018 at 00:01 GMT +3 | Athletics
Athletics - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Men's 1500m - Final - Carrara Stadium - Gold Coast, Australia - April 14, 2018. Elijah Motonei Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya in action. REUTERS

World champion Elijah Manangoi and IAAF Diamond League champion Timothy Cheruiyot will return to the Prefontaine Classic’s Bowerman Mile at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at University of Oregon, Eugene, tomorrow and Saturday.

The two finished first and second respectively at last year’s World Championships and last month’s Commonwealth Games, having occupied the same two positions at last year’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco where they set 1500m Personal Bests of 3:28.80 and 3:29.10.

Asbel Kiprop, who won the Diamond Race in 2010 and 2015, has won the Bowerman Mile in Eugene four times, but will miss out this year as he faces doping allegations.

Silas Kiplagat, also a two-time Diamond Race winner and 2011 world silver medalist, is in the mix. Asbel and Kiplagat have faced each other 36 times in the 1500m and mile and Asbel owns a 19-17 edge. Kiplagat has won Bowerman Mile thrice.

Manangoi finished third in 3:52.39 in his maiden appearance at the Bowerman Mile in Eugene last year. But they aren’t the only great racers in the event that annually is the Prefontaine Classic’s finale. Two-time Bowerman Mile winner Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti will also be returning to Eugene.  He set the meeting record – and US all-comers’ record – of 3:47.32 in 2014, just two months after winning the world indoor 1500m title.

Silas Kiplagat set his mile Personal Best of 3:47.88 when finishing second to Souleiman in Eugene in 2014. The 2011 world silver medallist will be making his eighth appearance at Hayward Field and will be aiming for his fourth sub-3:50 performance there.

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USA’s Matthew Centrowitz is ready to return to Hayward Field for the first time since winning the Olympic title in Rio. His Personal Best of 3:50.53 from the 2014 Bowerman Mile is the fastest ever run by a US athlete at Hayward Field.

Ethiopian record-holder Aman Wote has raced in the Bowerman Mile five times, finishing third three times. The 2014 world indoor silver medallist set his PB of 3:48.60 in Eugene four years ago.

Youngsters Samuel Tefera and Jakob Ingebrigsten will be making their Bowerman Mile debut. Tefera, just 18, won the world indoor 1500m title in Birmingham two months ago. Ingebrigsten became the youngest ever sub-four-minute miler when running 3:58.07 in last year’s Pre Classic mile at age 16. Additional reporting by IAAF.