Yomif Kejelcha winning at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (© Kirby Lee)
Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha will return to the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on 28 May after last year becoming the youngest ever winner of the 5000m at the Prefontaine Classic, organisers of the meeting announced on Monday (18).
At 18, Yomif Kejelcha has already a lengthy history behind him. At 16, he won this event at the World Junior Championships Oregon 2014, which was also held at Hayward Field. #
Last year’s victory made him the Prefontaine Classic’s youngest 5000m winner by four years and foreshadowed two more victories at IAAF Diamond League meetings en route to winning the Diamond Race.
He was also fourth in the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, the only time yet he has lost to more than one person in an international race. He ended the year with the world’s fastest 5000m time at 12:53.98 and this year he already has one major gold medal, winning the 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016.
His compatriot Hagos Gebrhiwet, 21, is also at the top of Ethiopia’s incredibly deep list of outstanding distance runners.
He captured the bronze in Beijing and two years earlier, Gebrhiwet displayed another memorable home stretch finish to earn silver at the 2013 world championships.
Prior to Kejelcha, Yenew Alamirew, 25, was Ethiopia’s top-ranked 5000m runner and has finished third and second in Eugene in 2013 and 2014.
Kenyan runners have won the Prefontaine Classic 5000m more times – 10 in fact – than any other country in the last 20 years, and two of those Kenyans are the most recent champions preceding Kejelcha.
Caleb Ndiku, 23, earned the 5000m silver medal in Beijing and won the 5000m in Eugene in 2014, the year he also won the Diamond Race.
Edwin Soi, 30, has the best set of finishes of anyone in the last three Prefontaine Classic 5000m race: first in 2013 then second and third.
Kenya’s London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa, now 34, will also be in the field along with 2013 world championships bronze medallist Isiah Koech,, who also took the 2012 Diamond Race.
Two-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, 23, will make his Prefontaine Classic 5000m debut as well. On the track, he is the silver medallist in the 10,000m from last year’s world championships.
Among the local hopes are Ben True, 30, who finished sixth at last year’s world championships as well as in the 2013 world cross country championships.
Ryan Hill, 26, earned the 3000m silver medal at the recent world indoor championships while the veteran double world champion from 2007, Bernard Lagat will be competing in no less than his 16th Prefontaine Classic.
The incredibly deep field also includes Kenya’s 2013 and 2015 world championships bronze medallist Paul Tanui, Canada’s Cam Levins and the US quartet of Chris Derrick, Eric Jenkins, Hassan Mead and Paul Chelimo.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL