Genzebe Dibaba will defend her 5000m title at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on 27 May, the meeting organisers announced on Monday (16).
Dibaba, the 2015 IAAF world athlete of the year, will be joined by her fellow world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, the pair winning the 1500m and 10,000m gold medals respectively at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.
The women’s 5000m will be the highlight of Friday’s Distance Night at Hayward Field, the evening before the main meeting on Saturday.
Last year, Dibaba ran an outdoor personal best and meeting record of 14:19.76 just a few weeks before she set the 1500m world record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
She so far has a perfect record in the state of Oregon, also winning the 3000m gold at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 in March.
However, Cheruiyot is the Kenyan 5000m record-holder and the only runner with more than one Diamond Race title in this event, after winning the first three from 2010-12.
In addition to Dibaba and Cheruiyot, the meeting organisers have also assembled an illustrious and deep field for this year’s race at the famed Prefontaine Classic.
Ethiopia's Gelete Burka, a four-time 1500m winner at the Prefontaine Classic, made a major leap in distance last year, taking on the 10,000m for the first time. The move up was a huge success as she twice ran world-leading marks before finally getting the silver medal behind Cheruyiot in Beijing last August.
Dibaba and Burka will have fellow Ethiopian international runners Ababel Yeshaneh and Alemitu Haroye for company in Eugene.
Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot has made her country’s Olympic or World Championships team every time since 2007, all in the 1500m until 2012 when her focus shifted to the 5000m, the distance at which she will be bidding to challenge for the medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Mercy Cherono earned a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships and another Kenyan to keep an eye on is Hellen Obiri, the Hayward Field record-holder over 1500m with 3:57.05, who showed she has retruned quickly to form after taking last year off for maternity when finishing second over 1500m in 3:59.34 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting last Saturday.
Three other Kenyans in the field are also worthy of mention.
Sally Kipyego has trained for several years in Eugene and earned silver medals at the 2012 Olympics and 2011 World Championships. She also owns the Prefontaine Classic 3000m meeting record.
Betsy Saina is another Kenyan who trains in Oregon. Like Kipyego, she amassed a number of US collegiate titles during her time at Iowa State.
Irene Cheptai was seventh in both the 5000m in Beijing and last year’s World Cross Country Championships. Earlier this month, she made headlines when she won the 10,000m at Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational in 31:15.38, her first attempt at the distance.
Bahrain’s Mimi Belete and UAE’s Betlhem Desalegn are also in the field for the women’s 5000m.
Molly Huddle leads the domestic challenge and her major championships credentials include a fourth-place finish over 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.
Other US runners include national 5000m champion Nicole Tully and her Beijing teammate Marielle Hall, as well as Kim Conley, who ran the 5000m at the London 2012 Olympic Games and 2013 World Championships.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL