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Bekele and Farah to clash in Eugene - Samsung Diamond League

Written by IAAF.

Eugene, Oregon - Steve Prefontaine would have loved this year’s men’s 5000m field at the meet named in his honour.  After all, the world’s best are competing in his trademark Olympic event at the fourth stop on the 2012 Samsung Diamond League circuit, and it includes an impressive group of fearless young talent, along with some Americans with extreme motivation.  Plus, the race will occur on Saturday, 2 June at Hayward Field, the cathedral of quality distance running made famous by the likes of Prefontaine.

Shining the most light on the men’s 5000m field are the reigning Olympic gold medallist and World record holder Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia and the reigning World Championships gold medallist Mo Farah of Great Britain.  Both are very familiar with Hayward Field and plan to meet again in London at the Olympics.

Bekele won the 2008 Prefontaine 10,000m in 26:25.97, the fourth fastest time ever.  Later that summer we won double Olympic gold medals by sweeping the 5000 and 10,000m in Beijing.  Four years earlier in Athens, he "only" won gold (10,000m) and silver (5000m).  He is one of the all-time greats at the distances, collecting five gold medals in the World Championships.  His world record of 12:37.35 from 2004 still stands.

In 2010, Farah won the 5000/10,000m double at the European Championships.  Soon after he moved to train in Portland, and 2011 brought an elevated set of medals: gold and silver from the World Championships in Daegu, with the gold coming in the 5000m.  He recorded his 10,000m and 5000m PBs of 26:46.57 (European Record set in Eugene) and 12:53.11 last year.

An impressive group of veterans and newcomers adds to a very fast field.

Fastest among the group are the veterans, led by Ethiopian Tariku Bekele, Kenyan Edwin Cheruiyot Soi, Kenyan Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa, and Kenyan Jacob Cheshari.  Bekele (12:52.45) is Kenenisa's younger brother. Soi (12:52.40) was the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.  Longosiwa (12:51.95) is a 2008 Olympic and 2011 World Championships finalist and Chesari (12:59.72) also has sub-13 credentials.

The U.S. will be represented by three world-class runners with 2008 Olympic experience.  Galen Rupp (13:06.86), more accomplished at the 10,000m (finalist at 2008 Olympics and last three World Championships), is the only American in the field who competed in the 5000 at the Daegu World Championships where he doubled.  Matt Tegenkamp (12:58.56), fourth at the 2007 World Championships, was a finalist at the Beijing Olympics as well as the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.  Dathan Ritzenhein has range that reaches as far as the marathon, in which he was ninth at the Beijing Olympics, and set his 5K PR of 12:56.27 in 2009, which was an American record at the time.  Since finishing fourth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon trials in January, he’s decided to attack the track again this summer.

But there is also a stunning group of young guns, and one of them has impressive experience already.  Isaiah Kiplangat Koech of Kenya, at age 17, was just out of the medals at last year’s World Championships, finishing fourth. His best of 12:53.29 is the indoor World junior record.  At 17, he was third in last year’s Prefontaine 2-Mile (8:14.16).  He is now 18 and will turn 19 in December.
Koech has company, some slightly older, some even younger. Among the slightly older are a pair of Ethiopians with world-class times, 22-year-old Yenew Alamirew (13:00.46) and 21-year-old Abera Kuma (13:00.15).  Kuma was fifth in last year’s World Championships.

The youngest runners in the field may provide the most intrigue.  Albert Rop, a 17-year-old from Kenya who doesn’t turn 18 until December, came out of nowhere to run 13:03.70 last year.  Tesfaye Cheru, a 19-year-old Ethiopian, will debut at this distance after bursting on the scene last year with a World junior best in the 2000m.  William Malel, an 18-year-old Kenyan, won last year’s 3000m World Youth Championships gold medal.  David Bett, a 19-year-old Kenyan, won the 2010 World Junior Championships gold medal at age 17 and has a best of 13:06.06.

Also in the field are two-time Olympian Alistair Ian Cragg of Ireland (13:03.53), three-time Olympian Craig Mottram of Australia (12:55.76), 2008 Olympian Collis Birmingham of Australia (13:10.97), and 2010 European silver medalist Chris Thompson of Great Britain (13:11.51).
With the addition of the men’s 5000 to the previously announced women’s 10,000m, seven athletes in this year’s Prefontaine Classic have won a total of 22 Olympic or World Championships medals (15 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze).
Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia)
Mo Farah (Great Britain)
Isaiah Kiplangat Koech (Kenya)
Yenew Alamirew (Ethiopia)
Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa (Kenya)
Tariku Bekele (Ethiopia)
Edwin Cheruiyot Soi (Kenya)
Abera Kuma (Ethiopia)
Jacob Cheshari (Kenya)
Galen Rupp (USA)
Alistair Ian Cragg (Ireland)
Albert Rop (Kenya)
Craig Mottram (Australia)
Collis Birmingham (Australia)
Matt Tegenkamp (USA)
Tesfaye Cheru (Ethiopia)
Dathan Ritzenhein (USA)
Chris Thompson (Great Britain)
William Malel (Kenya)
David Bett (Kenya)

Organisers for the IAAF

Samsung Diamond League - 2012 Calendar

Doha, QAT - 11 May
Shanghai, CHN - 19 May
Rome, ITA - 31 May
Eugene, USA - 2 June
Oslo, NOR - 7 June
New York, USA - 9 June
Paris, FRA - 6 July
London, GBR - 13 / 14 July
Monaco, MON - 20 July
Stockholm, SWE - 17 August
Lausanne, SUI - 23 August
Birmingham, GBR - 26 August
Zurich, SUI - 30 August
Brussels, BEL - 7 September

Click here for the Samsung Diamond League website