World 1,500m silver medallist Faith Kipyegon and former indoor 3,000m champion Helen Obiri clash at the next month’s Prefontaine Classic meeting in Eugene, Oregon.
The Kenyan duo face a competitive field in the women’s 1500m. Kipyegon has a rare collection of medals. She won the world youth 1,500m title and world junior cross-country title in 2011 and followed it with world junior 1,500m gold and a second world junior cross-country title in 2012. One year later, she set a Kenyan senior and African junior record of 3:56.98.
Winner at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and twice a champion at the hotly contested Kenyan cross country championships, Kipyegon took the silver medal at last year’s World Championships and rounded off her season by winning the mile at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Brussels with an African record of 4:16.71.
Compatriot Hellen Obiri has twice broken the US all-comers’ 1,500m record in Eugene— first with her 3:58.58 victory in 2013 and then with her 3:57.05 triumph a year later. The 26-year-old owns global medals of every colour including 3,000m gold at the 2012 World Indoor Championships, 3,000m silver at the 2014 World Indoor Championships and 1,500m bronze at the 2013 World Championships. Obiri took a break last year to give birth to her daughter, but returned to action last month and clocked a 5,000m PB of 15:28.5 at altitude in Nakuru.
Kipyegon and Obiri face Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan, who is the fastest w in the field with 3:56.05. The 23-year-old achieved her first sub-four-minute performance at this meeting in 2014 before going on to win European titles which included indoors, outdoors and at cross country.
Hassan was the 1,500m Diamond Race winner last year and took bronze in the event at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. More recently, she won the world indoor 1500m title in Portland last month. USA’s Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury have an intense rivalry going back seven years.
Simpson, the 2011 world champion, won the 1500m in Eugene last year. Her 3:58.28 clocking to finish third in Eugene in 2014 is the fastest time ever achieved by a US woman on home soil.
But while Simpson has a global title to her name, Rowbury owns the North American record. The 31-year-old clocked 3:56.29 in Monaco last year to break Mary Slaney’s mark that had stood since 1983. Rowbury earned world 1,500m bronze in 2009 and world indoor 3000m bronze last month in Portland.
Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay is the world junior silver medallist and world indoor bronze medallist at 1500m. Earlier this year, the 19-year-old set a world indoor U20 record of 4:01.81.
Fellow Ethiopian Axumawit Embaye took 1500m silver at the 2014 World Indoor Championships while still a teenager and went on to set a lifetime best of 4:02.35 later that year.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke