World junior 5000m silver medallist Waithaka heads stellar lineup that includes Ethiopians Berega and Edris

By Dennis Okeyo and Agency: Saturday, May 18th 2019 at 00:08 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech celebrates during in the women's 3000 metres steeplechase during the IAAF Diamond League "Memorial Van Damme" athletics meeting at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on August 31, 2018 (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)

World steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and Olympic silver medallist Hyvin Kiyeng Olympics lock horns today at the 2019 Shanghai Diamond League.

The meet will have 12 World and Olympic champions fighting for glory.

The stellar line-up includes eight gold medallists from the London 2017 IAAF World Championships and four who struck gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, plus two world indoor champions from Birmingham last year.

The second meeting of the Diamond League series meeting will feature 16 events, nine for men (100m, 200m, 400m, 5000m, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, high jump, long jump, javelin) and seven for women (100m, 400m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, pole vault, shot put, javelin).

Chepkoech will hope to continue her impressive form from 2018 as she seeks her Shanghai title defence. She won in dramatic fashion ahead of her fellow countrywomen Norah Jeruto who slipped and fell in the home stretch last year.

Apart from Chepkoech and Kiyeng, Celliphine Chespol, the current world junior champion and Jeruto, the 2016 African champion will be in the lineup.

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Other runners to watch include former Kenyan and Asian Games champion Winfred Yavi, and Ugandan teenager Peruth Chemutai.

In the women’s 1500m, Winny Chebet and Nelly Jepkosgei will face up against European 5000m champion Sifan Hassan of Netherlands.

Other challengers will be world indoor silver and bronze medallists, Gudaf Tseday and Dawit Seyaum both of Ethiopian. Hasan is also world indoor title holder at 1500m.

The men’s 5000m promises to be equally enthralling with a line-up containing world junior 5000m silver medallist Stanley Waithaka, Nicholas Kimeli, Richard Kimunyan against Ethiopia’s reigning world indoor and outdoor champions, Yomif Kejelcha and Muktar Edris.  

Elsewhere, China’s world champion, Gong Lijiao, returns to Shanghai in a bid to win the women’s shot put contest for a fifth time after her crowd-pleasing victory last year.

Chinese fans will be treated to a number of other tasty head-to-head battles, not least in the 110m hurdles when world and Olympic champion Omar McLeod bids for a fourth consecutive victory in the meeting’s spotlit event against world silver medallist Sergey Shubenkov.

The Jamaican made Shanghai history last year when he completed the meeting’s first ever sprint hurdles hat-trick, a feat not even McLeod’s boyhood hero Lui Xiang could achieve in his hometown stadium.

McLeod’s fellow Jamaican Elaine Thompson will be one of the big draws of the women’s track events with the double Olympic champion racing against Marie José Ta Lou over 100m.

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