Genzebe Dibaba leads the 5000m at the Shanghai Diamond League (© Jiro Mochizuki)
Gold medallists and world record-holders will be lined up for what could be a stunning women’s 5000m at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, after the 41st Prefontaine Classic meeting organisers announced an outstanding field on Wednesday (8).
Genzebe Dibaba owns three indoor world records – over 1500m, 3000m and 5000m – and she just missed the 5km world best on the roads by two seconds on a windy day in Carlsbad just over a week ago.
Now the 24-year-old Ethiopian is ready again to test the best on the outdoor track in her first appearance at the Prefontaine Classic.
She would also very much like to claim the Dibaba family record for the distance of 14:11.15 from her older sister Tirunesh, who is currently on maternity leave, a mark which is actually the world record.
Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya is a four-time world champion, twice on the track and twice at cross country, and is returning from maternity leave after giving birth to her son in October 2013.
Cheruiyot, the 2011 world 5000m and 10,000m champion, has won twice in three races at the Pre Classic, in 2011 setting the meeting and Hayward Field record of 14:33.96.
As strong as Dibaba and Cheruiyot might be, there will be no shortage of talent challenging the big two. Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana was the only woman to beat Genzebe Dibaba last year at this distance, taking the African title by almost 10 seconds.
Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot has made her country's past four IAAF World Championships teams, as well as the past two Olympic teams and is also a former world junior champion on the track and at cross country.
Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia is better known as a steeplechase but could also be in the mix. In 2013, she got a silver medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Kenya's Kipyego on home territory
Sally Kipyego may represent Kenya internationally but she is a familiar face in Eugene, having trained there for five years.
During her time in Oregon, she earned the 2011 world and 2012 Olympic silver medals in the 10,000m.
Alemitu Heroye of Ethiopia also knows Hayward Field and has fond memories of the venue after winning at the IAAF World Junior Championships last July. Still just 19, Heroye finished fourth in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships senior women’s race just over a week ago.
Kenya’s Janet Kisa earned medals at last summer’s Commonwealth Games and African Championships while her compatriot and Commonwealth 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon will make her debut over 5000m in Eugene.
Also in the field, representing European interests, is Sweden’s Meraf Bahta, who won the European 5000m gold medal last year. Russia’s Yelena Korobkina won the European indoor 3000m title last month and will also be on the start line.
Molly Huddle clocked 14:42.64 last summer and will be the main US hope. Her range of talent is still growing, having run 30:47.59 at 10,000m last year and she also won the New York City Half Marathon in March.
Other US athletes in the field include US 10,000m champion Kim Conley, US cross-country champion Laura Thweatt, 2014 NCAA 5000m champion Marielle Hall and US international Jordan Hasay, the latter a graduate of the University of Eugene for whom Hayward Field is her home track.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September