Ethiopian middle-distance runner Alemaz Teshale Samuel (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Tampere, Finland

Preview: women’s 1500m – IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018

Ethiopian athletes have won three of the past four 1500m titles since 2010 – Faith Kipyegon being the interloper in 2012 – and this record is expected to be improved upon in Tampere.

Alemaz Teshale’s margin of ascendency on paper stands at nearly eight seconds after she clocked a lifetime best of 4:01.78 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha but that is not to say the 19-year-old can afford any complacency. While she leads the lists by a comfortable distance, she was beaten domestically in the 1500m at the Ethiopian U20 Championships in Assela.

However, a third successive Ethiopian one-two could be on the cards as Dinke Ferdesa is the second fastest on paper with 4:09.68 from an international race which she won in Andujar, Spain at the start of June. Ferdesa also beat Teshale in that aforementioned race in Assela.

The Kenyans found themselves locked out of the medals two years ago but Edina Jebitok and Miriam Cherop will be the Ethiopian duo’s closest rivals in Tampere. They were first and second at the Kenyan U20 Championships and Jebitok also picked up a bronze medal over this distance at the World U18 Championships last summer.

One notable absentee is Ireland’s Sarah Healy, who is fourth on the world U20 lists with 4:09.25, who has opted to contest the European U18 Championships instead.

While it would be optimistic to suggest they can challenge the East Africans, the top non-African entrants are Portugal’s Mariana Machado and New Zealand’s Katrina Robinson, who is also second on the entry lists in the 3000m.

Steven Mills for the IAAF