General News Stockholm, Sweden

Strong middle-distance fields for XL-Galan

Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia celebrates as he wins gold in the Men’s 800 Metres - WIC Istanbul (Getty Images)Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia celebrates as he wins gold in the Men’s 800 Metres - WIC Istanbul (Getty Images) © Copyright

Over the last 16 years there have been five World indoor records and three World indoor junior records in the middle and long distances at the XL Galan, an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting. And that tally could be set to grow on February 21.

Haile Gebrselassie, Daniel Komen, Maria Mutola, Meseret Defar, Abubaker Kaki, Belal Mansour Ali and Kalkedan Gezahegne could be followed by new names as seven World and Olympic medallists will take part in the 800m and 1000m at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm.

Several teenagers have emerged in recent years, including 19-year-old Mohamed Aman, the only athlete to have beaten 800m World record-holder David Rudisha in the three last years. Aman, who last year won the World indoor title, will be confronted in Stockholm by 18-year-old Olympic bronze medallist Timothy Kitum of Kenya, 2010 World indoor champion Abubaker Kaki, and European indoor champion Adam Kszczot.

The quality of the 800m field is matched by the quality of the 1000m. World indoor 1500m champion Abdelaati Iguider will take on Silas Kiplagat, winner of last year’s Diamond Race, World indoor bronze medallist Andrew Osagie, and the surprise European 1500m champion Henrik Ingebrigtsen from neighbouring Norway.

But the real danger could be Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, who is reported to be in great shape. The 20-year-old from Jama Aden's prolific group of international athletes showed great ability last summer, clocking 3:30.31 for 1500m at age 19, but he picked up an injury shortly before the Olympics where his training partner Taoufik Makhloufi won the 1500m.

Organisers for the IAAF