Kenyan distance runner Isiah Koech (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Marrakech, Morocco

Preview: men's 5000m – IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014

Asia-Pacific representative Albert Rop is the fastest man in the field in 2014, thanks to a 13:06.44 clocking at the IAAF Diamond League event in Eugene in June, but the 22-year-old Kenyan-born Bahraini runner faces a host of threats in what promises to be an intriguing 13-and-a-half-lap battle.

Africa’s Isiah Koech is the pedigree man. The 20-year-old Kenyan won the world youth 3000m title back in 2009 and took bronze in the 5000m at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last year. He also finished runner-up to compatriot Caleb Ndiku in the Commonwealth Games 5000m final in Glasgow in July.

Koech finished just behind the fourth-placed Rop in Eugene – fifth in 13:07.35 – and will start as the favourite. However, there is no shortage of contenders capable of making a mark.

Europe will be represented by Ali Kaya, the 20-year-old Kenyan-born Turk who took European 10,000m bronze in Zurich, and Bouabdellah Tahri, the veteran French athlete who won world steeplechase bronze in 2009. New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games 5000m bronze medallist Zane Robertson represents Asia-Pacific.

Simon Turnbull for the IAAF