Yomif Kejelcha in the 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Birmingham, UK

Preview: men's 3000m – IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018

The stage is set for a thrilling 3000m battle on the final day of the championships as several men look equally capable of storming to glory in a race where team tactics could come into play.

Over the past couple of years, Selemon Barega has emerged as one of the most exciting distance-running talents in the world. Winner of the world U20 5000m title in 2016 and world U18 3000m title in 2017, the Ethiopian finished fifth over 5000m against senior opposition at last year’s World Championships in London.

Following a strong cross-country campaign this winter, he made his indoor debut in Lievin in February and came away with a world-leading outright PB of 7:36.64 for 3000m, comfortably beating world 5000m champion Muktar Edris.

Barega will be 18 years and 43 days old on the day of the 3000m final in Birmingham. If he wins, he will become the youngest ever winner of a world indoor title.

Compatriot Hagos Gebrhiwet won in Karlsruhe in 7:37.91 and finished second in Boston. The 23-year-old Olympic 5000m bronze medallist and 2013 world silver medallist will be aiming to win his first senior global title.

Yomif Kejelcha earned a wild card for the championships by winning the IAAF World Indoor Tour, meaning Ethiopia will field three athletes in this event. The defending champion has this year recorded indoor PBs for the mile (3:56.95 in Seattle), 3000m (7:38.67 for second place in Karlsruhe) and 5000m (a world-leading 13:34.67 also on the same day in Seattle), but has been beaten in two of his three outings over 3000m.

If anyone can challenge the Ethiopian trio, USA’s Paul Chelimo appears to be the most likely candidate. The Olympic 5000m silver medallist won an impressive 1500m and 3000m double on consecutive days at the US Indoor Championships, in spite of the unhelpful altitude. He then finished a close second in Glasgow, just 0.01 away from victory but ahead of Kejelcha and Davis Kiplangat.

Kiplangat and Kenyan compatriot Bethwell Birgen are in strong form this season. Birgen won the 1500m in Glasgow, while Kiplangat, the 2015 world U18 silver medallist, finished fourth in the 3000m at the same meeting with a 7:40.12 indoor PB.

Morocco’s 2012 world indoor 1500m champion and Olympic 1500m bronze medallist Abdalaati Iguider will be aiming to better his fourth-place finish from the 2016 event. Spain’s European indoor 3000m champion Adel Mechaal who improved his personal best by more than six seconds for fourth in Karlsruhe with 7:40.14, is another athlete to watch.

Nicola Sutton for the IAAF