IN BIRMINGHAM, UK
Thursday’s Zurich Diamond League meeting will have as many as 17 world champions in action as this year’s track and field season approaches its end, with world champion Mukhtar Edris of Ethiopia up against Great Britain’s Olympic champion Mo Farah, again.
Edris dethroned Farah as world champion in the 5,000m at the recent World Championships in London and the Briton will be out to exact revenge in the final track race of his career.
The “Weltklasse Zurich” meeting will see eight duels between reigning Olympic champions and newly crowned world champions, organisers said on Monday as athletes changed location after last Sunday’s Birmingham Diamond League meeting here.
Kenya’s 1,500m world champion Elijah Manangoi will also be in action in his speciality.
“The men’s 5,000m race is a particularly star-studded event: In his final track race, six-time Olympic champion Mo Farah (Great Britain) plans to set the record straight after his London defeat against world champion Muktar Edris (Ethiopia),” organisers confirmed in a statement on Monday.
“The race will be one of eight duels between new world and Olympic champions of Rio.” The Zurich meeting is one of two finals in this year’s series and the winners of 16 final events will be awarded one of the coveted Diamond Trophies and $50,000 (Sh5 million) in prize money. Thursday’s Letzigrund Stadium meeting’s entry lists “also include 14 reigning Olympic champions – an all-star cast that promises an unforgettable night of athletics on championship level at the sold-out arena and a setting that speaks for the new IAAF Diamond League format,” the organisers added.
The final events in Zurich and Brussels (September 1) will now determine the champions of the global series. Zurich hosts the penultimate leg just four days after last Sunday’s leg in Birmingham where Kenya’s new 5,000m world champion Hellen Obiri struggled to fourth position in the 3,000m race.
The pre-race favourite was in the cockpit of the event where she was alternating with her compatriots, 2015 African Games 5,000m champion Margaret Chelimo and World Junior Championships silver medallist Lillian Kasait Rengeruk.
With temperatures at 18 degrees centigrade and thunderous cheers from the British fans, the Kenyan stars seemed composed in the first three laps.
But Obiri, who has already qualified for the Diamond League final, fell off to the fourth position clocking 8:30.21 while Chelimo came in third in 8:30.11 in the race won by Dutch woman Sifan Hassan (8:28.90) with Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen second in 8:29.89. It was easy to note fatigue on Obiri’s posture since she was breathless and unable to stand after the race.
As a matter of fact, it was USA’s Shannon Rowbury who gave her a helping hand to stand up.
Obiri still leads the series with 24 points.