Asbel Kiprop on his way to victory in the Mile at the 2012 Diamond League meeting in Oslo (© Mark Shearman)
The ‘Dream Mile’ is always a feature event at Oslo’s ExxonMobil Bislett Games – the sixth leg of the IAAF Diamond League – and this year’s race on June 13 is no different.
It boasts a unique history, highlighted with great names and performances. In the 80s the British trio of Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram all contested the Mile in Oslo and all set World records.
This year’s mile will again provide huge interest and excitement as a high-quality field test themselves over four laps of the renowned Bislett track. World champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya is chasing a record three straight victories in the Dream Mile and will be looking to challenge his personal best of 3:48.50.
Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic champion, was unfortunately injured in London last season and subsequently struggled in the Olympic final. He is now fully recovered and judging by his early-season form – winning at the Diamond League meetings in Doha (3:31.13) and Shanghai (3:32.39) – the tall 23-year-old will be ready for the task in Bislett.
Local interest will be at fever pitch with high expectations for Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigtsen, who last year won the European 1500m title and finished fifth at the London Olympic Games. The vocal Oslo crowd will roar their support for the local hero as he looks to break his own Norwegian record (3:54.28) and get close to the 3:50 barrier.
Besides the World and European champions, the ‘Dream Mile’ field will also include World indoor champion Abdalaati Iguider. The Moroccan secured the bronze medal at the London Olympics and will have his eyes firmly set upon a sub-3:50 clocking in just his third ever race over the distance.
Kenya will again be well represented in the race by Commonwealth 1500m champion Silas Kiplagat and Olympic finalist Nixon Chepseba, both sub-3:30 1500m athletes at their best. It also means that the race has the past three Diamond Race winners, as Kiplagat won in 2012, Chepseba in 2011 and Kiprop in 2010.
The quality and depth of this particular field evokes memories of a great Bislett race more than half a century ago when the Dane Gunnar Nielsen and the Hungarian Lazlo Tabori dead heated in a World record at 1500m.
They too were encouraged every step of the way by the knowledgeable Bislett crowd in 1955 and now in 2013 the competitors will receive that same special support for an individual event that is often copied but never really duplicated as the Dream Mile remains one of the most recognizable episodes in the IAAF Diamond League.
Organisers for the IAAF
2013 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 10 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
New York, USA – 25 May
Eugene, USA – 1 Jun
Rome, ITA – 6 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 13 Jun
Birmingham, GBR – 30 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 4 Jul
Paris, FRA – 6 Jul
Monaco, MON – 19 Jul
London, GBR – 26-27 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 22 Aug
Zürich, SUI – 29 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 6 Sep