Thanks to Augustine Choge’s overall win in the IAAF World Indoor Tour, Kenya will be able to field three men in this event and there is certainly a possibility of a clean sweep.
The rejuvenated Choge, returning to form this winter after an injury-marred 2015, will be joined by Isiah Koech and defending champion Caleb Ndiku.
Despite only being the fifth fastest among the list of entrants, Choge will be considered by many as the marginal favourite after his devastating change of gears over the last lasp to win classy races in Dusseldorf and Karlsruhe at the beginning of last month.
Season’s bests are also not much of an indicator of medal potential as just two seconds cover the eight fastest entries.
Ndiku, in contrast to his compatriot and 2012 world indoor silver medallist Choge, has looked less assured and was caught lacking for sheer speed in the two German races Choge won. Koech also looked a little off his top form with lacklustre races over 15 laps of the track in Dusseldorf and Boston.
Behind the Kenyan trio, there is a bit of uncertainty over who else will be on the starting line for the heats on Friday.
Ethiopia have named a powerful trio of world leader and 2014 world indoor bronze medallist Dejen Gebremeskel, Yenew Alamirew and Yomif Kejelcha, the latter winning the 2014 world junior 5000m title just up the road in Eugene.
Only two of those Ethiopians will start, but it is likely Gebremeskel will be one of them following his two convincing wins in Boston last month.
In similar fashion, hosts USA have named three men: Ryan Hill, Paul Chelimo and Eric Jenkins; the 1-2-3 from the US Championships last weekend and 2-3-6 in terms of time on the list of entries.
Hill’s win in Portland in a season’s best of 7:38.60 came off an especially impressive last lap when he held off his domestic rivals.
Morocco’s 2012 world indoor 1500m champion Abdalaati Iguidar is also on the entry list and posted an impressive 7:39.04 when winning at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Stockholm last month but as he is also down to contest the shorter distance, there have been suggestions he may pull out of this event.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF