Mouth-watering middle-distance clashes for Doha Wanda Diamond League

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The Wanda Diamond League will end on a high in Doha on Friday, it’s not just the women’s 3000m that will bring together some of the world’s best across a range of disciplines; the men’s 1500m has attracted world and Olympic medallists from the steeplechase and 5000m.

World and Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto will make his season debut in what will be his first 1500m race in five years. The 25-year-old Kenyan will be joined by his two fellow medallists from last year’s World Championships, Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma and Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, who has set PBs this year of 3:35.67 and 3:34.51 respectively. Kipruto may have proven time and again that he is the best over the barriers, but this is a test to see who has the greatest foot speed.

Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega, the world 5000m silver medallist will also step down in distance in a bid to improve on his recent PB of 3:36.07. Australia’s Stewart McSweyn, fresh from setting an Oceanian 3000m record in Rome has the fastest season’s best of the field (3:31.48) and will be a formidable opponent.

The 1500m will be without world champion Timothy Cheruiyot, because he too is stepping down in distance. The Kenyan will contest the 800m, where he’ll line up against world bronze medallist Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, World Championships fourth-place finisher Bryce Hoppel, 2016 European bronze medallist Elliot Giles, Pan American silver medallist Wesley Vazquez and Australian duo Peter Bol and Joseph Deng.

Cheruiyot has been undefeated since May 2019, but this will be his first 800m race for more than a year, whereas almost everyone else in the field has sharpened up over two laps and arrive in Doha with sub-1:45 season’s bests.

Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon is another athlete who heads to Doha off the back of an unbeaten run, and she too will move down in distance. The 26-year-old Kenyan has notched up two victories over 1000m this year, producing two of the five fastest times in history with her 2:29.15 run in Monaco and 2:29.92 win in Brussels. She followed it with a dominant 3:59.05 run over 1500m, her specialist distance, at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Ostrava.

Friday’s the race will be her first 800m outing in five years, but her two-lap splits from Monaco (1:59.7) and Brussels (1:59.2) suggest she’s ready to run fast and could even challenge her PB of 1:58.02.

Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, the fourth-place finisher at last year’s World Championships, and 2013 world champion Eunice Sum will also line up for the 800m.

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