Kenya’s recently crowned 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships senior men’s winner Japhet Korir and US sprinter Wallace Spearmon, a three-time World Championships medallist, are the latest additions to the first of the 2013 IAAF World Challenge meetings, which will be staged in the Australian city of Melbourne on Saturday 6 April.
Meeting organisers announced on Tuesday (2) that Korir will compete alongside Australian 1500m record holder Ryan Gregson in the men’s 5000m at the Lakeside Stadium.
The teenager arrives in Melbourne barely a week after stunning Ethiopia’s defending champion Imane Merga in Bydgoszcz to become the youngest man ever to lift a senior World Cross Country Championships title,
The Qantas Melbourne World Challenge will be his first track race this year, indoors or outdoors, after recovering from the Achilles injury he suffered in Kenya’s World Junior Championships trials last summer.
“I am looking forward to running in Melbourne after the excitement of the World Cross. Over the years so many of my countrymen like (David) Rudisha and (Asbel) Kiprop have raced well in Australia and I hope to do the same,” said Korir.
“The 5000m will by my focus this season and the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge is my first chance to race across the distance (this year). It would be good to get the year started well.”
Korir has a 5000m personal best of 13:11.44, set indoors last year, and a time similar to this at the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge would rocket him into an early 2013 world lead.
Like Korir, Spearmon’s year has begun impressively with a windy 9.92 100m at the Texas Relays last the weekend highlighting the form he will bring to the 100m and 200m at the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge.
Spearmon will provide a challenge for Australia’s 4x100m Relay record holders Tim Leathart, Josh Ross, Andrew McCabe and Anthony Alozie.
Leathart is the fastest Australian to date in 2013, running a personal best 10.24 to win the 100m at the Sydney Track Classic recently.
Ross’ 2013 domestic campaign has included 100m victories in Adelaide and Brisbane and 200m wins at the Sydney, Go for 2&5 Perth and Queensland Track Classics.
Unfortunately, after announcing that he would compete, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell has had to withdraw from the 100m during to a hamstring injury.
Powell, despite withdrawing from the men’s 100m, will remain in Melbourne to greet athletics fans at the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge on Saturday afternoon.
London 2012 Olympic Games Long Jump gold and silver medallists, Australia’s Mitchell Watt and Greg Rutherford, as well as Australia’s 2010 World Indoor Championships gold medallist Fabrice Lapierre.
Organisers for the IAAF