At the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich last Thursday, Kenya’s world and Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto, despite having lost his left shoe a minute and a half into the race, outsprinted the 22-year-old Moroccan whom he had beaten to world gold the year before to retain his title, Soufiane El Bakkali.
Now the two men find themselves as teammates in the African cause, and they will expect to lay claim to maximum points in Ostrava.
However, you should never rule out Evan Jager of the United States, who followed Kipruto home at the 2016 Olympics and collected a bronze at last year’s IAAF World Championships in London.
Jager has the second fastest time run this season, 8:01.02, clocked as he chased El Bakkali home at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco as the Moroccan won in 7:58.15, which put him 10th on the world all-time list.
Jager’s Americas teammate Matt Hughes of Canada is ninth fastest on this year’s list with the 8:12.33 he ran in finishing fourth at the Commonwealth Games in April.
For Asia, Bahrain’s John Koech has run 8:22.00 this season, and Kosei Yamaguchi 8:30.98.
Spain’s Fernando Carro took silver at last month’s European Championships in Berlin in 8:34.16 and has a personal best of 8:11.54. His teammate Johannes Chiapinelli has run 8:28.10 this year, and took bronze behind Carro in Berlin.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF