Star-studded 3000m line-up for Doha as Obiri come face to face with Chepkoech

Thursday, September 24th, 2020 00:00 |
World champion Hellen Obiri.

Doha, Wednesday

It may have been a far-from-normal season, but the Wanda Diamond League will end on a high in Doha tomorrow with what is quite possibly the deepest line-up seen in any discipline this year.

A loaded 3000m field will bring down the curtain in the Qatari capital, featuring a clash between world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri and world steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.

In fact, five medallists from four different disciplines at last year’s World Championships will be back in action in Doha – and even then, that only scratches the surface of the quality of the field.

Obiri opened her outdoor campaign in Monaco last month, winning the 5000m in a world-leading 14:22.12, just four seconds shy of her Kenyan record.

She has fond memories of Doha, too, as it is where she set a Kenyan 3000m record of 8:20.68 in 2014, following it with victories over 3000m at Doha’s Diamond League meeting last year and over 5000m at the World Championships at the same venue.

Chepkoech also opened her outdoor season in Monaco, clocking 14:55.01 for 5000m, and she followed it with a 9:10.07 run for second place in the steeplechase at the Continental Tour meeting in Berlin earlier this month. The steeplechase world record-holder is one of four women in the field with a PB inside 8:30.

Other athletes in the field who stood on the podium in Doha last year include 5000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, 10,000m bronze medallist and 2015 world cross-country champion Agnes Tirop, and 1500m bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay.

In fact, all 16 women in the field own a medal from a global or continental championship, or hold a world or continental record.

The quality is such that they all deserve a mention: 2015 world steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng, world U18 champion Lemlem Hailu, world U20 champion Beatrice Chebet, African Games 10,000m champion Tsehay Gemechu, African 1500m champion Winny Chebet, African Games 1500m champion Quailyne Jebiwott Kiprop, European 5000m silver medallist Eilish McColgan, European 1500m bronze medallist Laura Weightman, European indoor bronze medallist Melissa Courtney-Bryant, and Oceania record-holders Genevieve Gregson and Jessica Hull.

Mondo Duplantis will also aim to end his year on a high – quite literally – when he lines up for his final pole vault competition of the year.

The 20-year-old from Sweden has enjoyed a dream season, setting world records of 6.17m and 6.18m indoors and maintaining a winning streak throughout the whole of 2020. His latest victory was a 6.15m clearance – the highest outdoor vault in history – at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Rome last week.

If he’s feeling good, he may well decide to take an attempt at a would-be world record height of 6.19m, though Duplantis himself would be quick to point out that records are by no means a certainty every time he sets foot on the runway.

His main goal will be to keep his winning streak intact, which in itself will be no easy task as he takes on two-time world champion Sam Kendricks and 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie.

Mouth-watering middle-distance clashes

It’s not just the women’s 3000m that will bring together some of the world’s best across a range of disciplines; the men’s 1500m has attracted world and Olympic medallists from the steeplechase and 5000m.

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