What you need to know:
- Olympic and World champion Ezekiel Kemboi and 2014 Series winner Jairus Birech will meet in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase
- World 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono and the double 2011 World champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, are in women’s 5,000m field.
World cross country champion Agnes Jebet has joined an elite women’s field that will compete in 5,000m race in Saturday’s Paris Diamond League meeting.
Already, Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana who holds the world lead over the distance and her compatriot Genzebe Dibaba have declared their intentions of breaking the world record time of 14min,11.15sec set by Tirunesh Dibaba in 2008 in Oslo at the race. Just how Jebet and her compatriots will react to the Ethiopians might is left to be seen. Many say it’s a World Championships treat-come-early.
Other Kenyans in the race are World 5,000m silver medallist, Mercy Cherono, who is also the Commonwealth champion, Commonwealth 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich, Irene Jelagat, Viola Kibiwot and Betsy Saina. Former world 5,000m and 10,000m champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, will not compete in Paris as expected.
It will be Jebet’s first competitive race this season after she became the youngest person (19) to win senior women’s 8km title during the World Cross-country Championships on March 28 in Guiyang, China.
Jebet, who is the 2013 World Cross junior silver medallist, and has personal best 14:50.36 from the 2013 Oslo (Bislett) meet, has already expressed her desire to compete in 5,000m at the World Championships due August 22 to 30 in Beijing.
“I want to return to China for another shot at 5,000m title in Beijing,” said Jebet. Except for Jebet, the rest have competed in the Diamond League this season. While the rest have competed in three 5,000m races in Shanghai, Eugene and Oslo, Cherono, Jebet did the 1,500m race in Eugene, setting personal best. Chepng’etich was second in Eugene on May 30 in 14:31.95 behind Genzebe Dibaba’s 14:19.76.
Kibiwott competed in Shanghai (May 17), Eugene (May 30) and Oslo (June 11) where she lost the battle to Ayana and Dibaba respectively.
Kibiwott settled second in 14:40.32 in Shanghai behind Ayana, who tore the track to win in world lead 14:14.32, the third fastest time ever over the distance. Jelagat was placed fifth in in the race in 14:55.49.
Dibaba, who had won in Eugene with second best time of the season of 14:19.76, tried to break the world record in Oslo but in vain as her individual lone effort returned 14:21.29.
It’s in Oslo where Kibiwott settled third in 14:40.43, having settled seventh in Eugene in 15:00.69. Chepng’etich holds the best time this year among her compatriots from Eugene, having timed 14:31.95 to lose the Dibaba. Chepng’etich headed to Oslo where she reverted to her 1,500m specialty, finishing second in 4:00.94.
Cherono returned 4:01.26 to also settle second in Eugene.
Meanwhile, World and former Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, who was to battle in 1,500m is not listed, leaving the Series leader, Silas Kiplagat to spearhead Kenya’s assault that has Commonwealth champion James Magut and Commonwealth silver medallist Ronald Kwemoi, who is also the World junior record-holder.