Five Ethiopian U20 athletes have run 13:15 or faster already this season and they will be sending their very best to Tampere in the form of reigning champion Selemon Barega.
Barega was barely heard of before Bydgoszcz two years ago when he upgraded his bronze medal from the African U20 Championships into gold at the age of 16. Since then, Barega has racked up multiple accolades at age-group level, winning the African U20 5000m title and the world U18 3000m title last year before finishing fifth on his senior debut at the IAAF World Championships in London.
If there was a senior championships on the schedule this summer, Barega would possibly begin as the favourite in the 5000m. He earned a silver medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships behind Yomif Kejelcha and won at the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Eugene and Stockholm.
But such is the quality of opposition on show in Tampere, Barega is by no means a dead-cert for the title. Telahun Haile is Ethiopia's new find and is just behind Barega on the world U20 lists with 13:04.63 while Kenya is sending Stanley Mburu Waithaka and Edward Zakayo, who were a close second and third behind Barega in Nairobi last summer.
One athlete with a win over Barega in a big event is world U20 cross-country champion Jacob Kiplimo from Uganda. Barega was fifth on that occasion but he will be eligible for the U20 race next year in Aarhus – and so will Kiplimo.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen has entered both the 1500m and 5000m in Tampere. His best time of 13:35.84 – a European U18 best – dates back to the Norwegian Championships last August when he won the 1500m, 5000m and the 3000m steeplechase and was second over 800m.
Steven Mills for the IAAF