Tirunesh Dibaba, in many people’s eyes the greatest women’s long distance runner ever, will return to the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene to headline a loaded women’s 5000m field at the 39th edition of the Prefontaine Classic on 1 June.
The Ethiopian, now 27, is the owner of the World record over the distance at 14:11.15. She is also the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games 10,000m gold medallist and notched up a unique double over 5000m and the longer distance in Beijing five years ago.
Dibaba has also never lost at Hayward Field, twice setting meeting records in winning over 5000m in 2010 and 10,000m last year, when she clocked 30:24.39.
Her last 5000m race was at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she finished third, but she will be aware that her younger sister Genzebe ran a 2013 world-leading time of 14:45.92 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai on Saturday.
Challenging Dibaba will be a quartet of outstanding Kenyans: two-time IAAF World Championships silver medallist Sylvia Kibet and former World junior champions Veronica Nyaruai, Viola Kibiwot and Mercy Cherono.
Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka is the fastest 1500m runner in the field with a personal best of 3:58.79 and, along with Kibiwot, one of two runners who have gone under four minutes for the shorter distance.
Burka is a four-time winner at the Prefontaine Classic in the 1500m, including the meeting record of 3:59.89 in 2009, and over 5000m she is also the second fastest in the field with a best of 14:31.20.
In addition, a lot of eyes will also be on Ethiopia’s 2012 World junior 5000m champion Buze Diriba, who is still a junior and potentially could challenge Dibaba’s World junior record of 14:30.88.
The Ethiopian contingent in the race is completed by 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships silver medallist Hiwot Ayalew, Ruti Aga and Azemra Gebru.
Host nation USA has four world class entrants in Shannon Rowbury, Lisa Uhl, Kim Conley, and Neely Spence.
Rowbury is a two-time Olympic Games finalist at 1500m and won the bronze medal over the distance at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin while Uhl is the fastest American in the field with 14:55.74.
Great Britain’s Julia Bleasdale and Bahrain’s Shitaye Eshete were finalists in both the London 2012 Olympic Games 5000m and 10,000m and will also have their eyes on improving their personal best times.
Organisers for the IAAF
2013 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 10 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
New York, USA – 25 May
Eugene, USA – 1 Jun
Rome, ITA – 6 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 13 Jun
Birmingham, GBR – 30 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 4 Jul
Paris, FRA – 6 Jul
Monaco, MON – 19 Jul
London, GBR – 26-27 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 22 Aug
Zürich, SUI – 29 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 6 Sep