MonteCarloA year after his formal retirement from the sport, the search is still on for the successor to the 1500m throne vacated by World record holder Hicham El Guerrouj. And while the Moroccan's legendary stature still appears secure, a slew of would-be contenders to that throne will resume the daunting task when the gun sounds the start of the fabled Dream Mile in Oslo 15 June when the six meeting IAAF Golden League 2007 kicks off at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games.
Leading the field will be defending champion Alex Kipchirchir, whose victory in the Dream Mile last season signalled the start of young Kenyan's rise to the top of the 1500m/Mile ranks.
Among the world's fastest since 2003, the 22-year-old former World Junior champion emerged from a tight pack of challengers as perhaps the world's finest milers in 2006. In a dozen 1500/mile races last year, he won seven and finished runner-up on four occasions times, with only one sub par outing blemishing his record during his otherwise noteworthy campaign. Proving his ability to run well when it mattered most, Kipchirchir won the African 1500m title in Bambous and beat most of the world's best with his victory at the World Athletics Final title, before capping his season with a win at the World Cup.
Augustine Choge, another from Kenya's deep pool of talent, will take to the line as the early season world leader after his 3:31.73 victory in Doha early last month. More recently, Choge topped a good field to win a tactical race in Glasgow last weekend. Just 20, Choge picked up valuable experience last season to end his 2006 campaign on a high note with wins at Berlin's ISTAF Golden League fixture and the Golden Grand Prix in Shanghai, and a third place showing at the World Athletics Final.
Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, third in Oslo last year, was last year's fastest over the metric mile after his 3:29.02 victory in Rome, one of just three runners to dip under 3:30 last season. While his 2006 campaign was less consistent than his compatriot's, Kipchirchir Komen is nonetheless a solid threat each time he steps on the track.
Another Kenyan Isaac Songok, primarily known for longer distances, can't be overlooked. The 23-year-old has run 3:31.85 or faster the last four seasons.
Australian Craig Mottram, who notched an Area Record 3:48.98 in Oslo in 2005, returns to the scene as part of his build-up for the World Championships where he'll seek to improve upon his bronze medal showing in the 5000m. Always a fierce competitor, the 26-year-old will arrive in the Norwegian capital after a difficult outing over 2 Miles at the Prefontaine Classic, IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting.
The field also includes Suleiman Simotwo, this year’s Doha runner-up (3:31.98), 2005 World Championships silver medallist Adil Kaouch of Morocco, Asian champion Dahame Najem Bashir of Qatar, and Spaniards Sergio Gallardo and Arturo Casado, the silver and bronze medalists at this year’s European Indoor Championships.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
IAAF Golden League - Dates and venues in 2007:
Friday 15 June, OSLO, NOR
Friday 6 July, PARIS, FRA
Friday 13 July, ROME, ITA
Friday 7 September, ZURICH, SUI
Friday 14 September, BRUSSELS, BEL
Sunday 16 September, BERLIN, GER
IAAF Golden League Jackpot in 2007:
$1 Million Prize
Successful claimants of the $1 Million Jackpot must win their event (a list of applicable jackpot events is shown below) at ALL SIX meetings of the IAAF Golden League.
However, should NO athlete manage to attain six wins and claim the $1 Million, then anyone with five victories will share half the original prize - $500,000.
NOTE. this secondary prize is only on offer should nobody win his or her event at all six meetings.
All winners must compete at the IAAF World Athletics Final to be eligible for their share of the Jackpot.
IAAF Golden League Jackport Events in 2007:
MEN: 100m, 1500m, 110m Hurdles, Triple Jump, Javelin Throw;
WOMEN: 100m, 400m, 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Pole Vault.