Kigen Faces Stiff Challenge In Rome Diamond League Steeplechase

Jun 06 - by IAAF for SportPesa News

Other top contenders for the race are Nicholas Bett, Wilberforce Kones, Barnabas Kipyego all from Kenya and Albert Chemutai of Uganda

Benjamin KIGEN of Kenya in the Men's 3000m Steeplechase during the Muller Grand Prix 2018, Diamond League, at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, United Kingdom, on August 18th, 2018. PHOTO/ AFP

  • Among those who have braced themselves to battle Kigen who won the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Rabat and Eugene last year, are Commonwealth silver medalist Abraham Kibiwot and Ethiopia’s Chala Beyo
  • Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay clocked a world-leading 3:59.57 at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Nanjing two weeks ago and was followed by compatriot Axumawit Embaye
  • Following his runner-up finish in Shanghai and a victory over 10,000m at last month’s Ethiopian Championships, Selemon Barega starts as the slight favourite in the men’s 5000m in Rome

ITALY, Rome- Benjamin Kigen will be the force to reckoned with in the star-studded men’s men’s 3000m steeplechase in IAAF Rome Diamond League in Italy on Thursday night.

Among those who have braced themselves to battle Kigen who won the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Rabat and Eugene last year, are Commonwealth silver medalist Abraham Kibiwot and Ethiopia’s Chala Beyo.

Others are Nicholas Bett, Wilberforce Kones, Barnabas Kipyego all from Kenya and Albert Chemutai of Uganda.

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At the same time, world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba and European champion Laura Muir who have rarely raced one another  will parade for the men’s 1500m crown outside of a major championship. 

They will line up in Rome as the marginal favourites, but neither will be guaranteed victory given the quality of the field.

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay clocked a world-leading 3:59.57 at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Nanjing two weeks ago and was followed by compatriot Axumawit Embaye. 

Both women are also in the field alongside Shanghai winner Rababe Arafi, 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson, world U20 champion Alemaz Samuel and Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford, Muir’s training partner.

Following his runner-up finish in Shanghai and a victory over 10,000m at last month’s Ethiopian Championships, Selemon Barega starts as the slight favourite in the men’s 5000m in Rome.

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But Olympic bronze medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet, who finished just 0.12 shy of his younger compatriot in Shanghai, world cross-country champion Joshua Cheptegei and Asian champion Birhanu Balew will also be in the field. 

Meanwhile, world U20 cross-country champion Milkesa Mengesha will make his IAAF Diamond League debut.

In Doha last month, Nijel Amos handed Emmanuel Korir his first ever defeat at an IAAF Diamond League meeting, winning the 800m in a world-leading 1:44.29. 

Korir won’t be in Rome, but Amos will still have to out-race world indoor champion Adam Kszczot, Asian champion Abubaker Haydar Abdalla, Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy and his US compatriot Donavan Brazier.

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