Hellen Obiri of Kenya celebrates as she wins gold in the women’s 3000m in Istanbul (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Birmingham, UK

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

The women’s 3000m has the makings of being the event of the championships.

Defending champion Genzebe Dibaba takes on reigning world indoor 1500m champion Sifan Hassan, world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri and double European indoor champion Laura Muir. And they’re not the only medal contenders.

Most of the women entered for this event will be doubling in the 1500m, but the 3000m will be held as a straight final on the first night of the championships so all athletes will be running on fresh legs.

Dibaba heads to Birmingham undefeated so far this indoor season. Unusually for her, she hasn’t broken any world records this year, but her form has still been good. She clocked world-leading marks of 3:57.45 over 1500m in Karlsruhe and 8:31.23 for 3000m 10 days later in Sabadell.

Hassan, now based in the USA, has competed just once this year. She clocked 8:34.45 on Seattle’s oversized track to win by a nine-second margin. The world 5000m bronze medallist has fond memories of Birmingham as it is where she set her Dutch indoor and outdoor 3000m records.

For many of the spectators in the arena, though, the focus will be on Muir. She has shown impressive form across a range of distances this year, running a world-leading 1:59.69 for 800m and clocking times of 4:05.37 for 1500m and 8:37.21 for 3000m in solo efforts.

Obiri knows what it takes to win a world indoor title, having won this discipline in 2012. She is a much improved athlete since then, but similarly the field she is set to face in Birmingham is a lot tougher than the one in Istanbul six years ago. Obiri won a close race over 3000m in Ostrava in January, but more recently was beaten into third over 1500m in Torun.

If the race is tactical – as championship events so often are – it will make the 3000m even more open and competitive.

She may not have a medal collection like some of the other women in the race, but USA’s Shelby Houlihan will start the 3000m with genuine hopes of a medal. She ran a huge PB of 8:36.01 at the start of February and then won the 1500m and 3000m double on consecutive days at the US Indoor Championships, showing impressive finishing speed on both occasions.

Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen arrives in Birmingham with an identical PB to Houlihan. That performance, set at the German Indoor Championships, was a national indoor record and came a couple of weeks after some strong outings over 1500m – 4:04.00 in Karlsruhe and 4:04.72 in Madrid.

Other contenders include 2014 European 5000m champion Meraf Bahta of Sweden, Britain’s European indoor bronze medallist Eilish McColgan, South African record-holder Dominique Scott, and the second Ethiopian, whether it will be Dawit Seyaum or Fantu Worku.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF