CHERUIYOT, KEMBOI AND SEMENYA SET FOR COMPEED GOLDEN GALA
Rome: great champions will be sharing the stage at the Compeed Golden Gala on 31 May, the third stop of the 2012 Samsung Diamond League series
Women’s 5000 metres - It will be a much-awaited show in the longest race in the programme of the 2012 Compeed Golden Gala. The line-up will line-up Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot (PB 14’20”87, third fastest time in history), double gold medallist in the 5000 and in the 10000 metres in Daegu, Ethiopian Meseret Defar (14’12”88, second fastest runner in history and former world record holder), who won gold at the Olympic Games in Athens and the bronze medal in Bejing, the world title in Osaka and four world indoor titlesEthiopian Gelete Burka (14’31”20), twice world cross country champion and once world indoor gold medallist in the 1500 metres, and Sylvia Kibet (twice world silver medallist in Berlin and Daegu for dominant distance-running powerhouse Kenya). In the previous clashes Defar clearly prevails over the other rivals. The Ethiopian leads 11-4 over Cheruiyot, 12-2 over Kibet and 8-0 over over Burka. Vivian Cheruiyot prevailed 18 times over Kibet in 20 meets and only once over Burka who often runs over shorter distances, but leads 3-1 over Kibet.
Men’s 3000 metres steeplechase - Four Kenyan stand-out runners Paul Kipsiele Koech, Ezekiel Kemboi, Richard Matelong and Brimin Kipruto will be in the spotlight in Rome. Ezekiel Kemboi (PB 7’55”76) won the Olympic title in Athens 2004. He has always won a medal in the last five editions of the World Championships and two gold medals in Berlin and Daegu. Paul Kipsiele Koech (7’56”37 clocked in Rome 2005), won the Olympic bronze medal in Athens 2004 and ran eight of the 32 times in history under the 8 minutes barrier. Brimin Kiprop Kipruto won the Olympic title in Bejing and was Olympic silver medallist in Athens. He won the world title in Osaka, a silver and a bronze world medal. Last year he narrowly missed Shaheen’s world record (7’53”63) by just one hundredth of a second. Richard Matelong is the latest specialist able to dip under the 8 minutes barrier in Doha on 11th May with 7’56”81. He boasts three major medals: the olympic bronze medal in Bejing, a silver and a bronze medal at the World Championships. They will take on Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi Banabbad (8’02”09”, the second fastest time in history in Europe), who won three major medals: the European gold medal in Barcelona 2010, the Olympic silver medal in Bejing and the World bronze medal in Daegu. He also holds the world all-time best performance in the 2000 metres steeplechase with 5’10”68. In the previous clashes Kemboi won over Kipruto 25 times in 35 meets and also leads 27-19 over Koech and 24-10 over Matelong. Paul Kipsiele Koech leads 24-15 over Kipruto and 26-7 over Mateelong who lost 21 races to 16 against Kipruto. Mekhissi lost three races to 1 against Koech and 7-0 against Kipruto but won 5 races to 2 against Kemboi and prevailed in 5 races to 3 against Mateelong.
Women’s 800 metres - One of the races with the highest quality of the Compeed Golden Gala with four formidabile athletes in the line-up: Kenyan Pamela Jelimo, who won the Olympic title when she was just 18 years old and set five world junior records. She holds a PB of 1’54”01, the fastest time for 29 years. This year she returned to her best form winning the World indoor gold medal in Istanbul. The other Kenyan stand-out name will be Janeth Jepkosgei, who holds a 1’56”04 PB set when she won the World Championships in Osaka. She is used to winning medals in major events: Olympic silver in Bejing, World silver in Berlin and World bronze medal in Daegu. The other African star will be Caster Semenya, who followed in the footsteps of Jelimo by winning the World title in Berlin 2009. Still a junior, she won the world title in a PB of 1’55”45 backing up this medal two years later in Daegu with her silver medal. Last but not least Russian Mariya Savinova, reigning World and European champion, who set her 1’55”87 PB when she won the world title in Daegu 2011. In the previous clashes between these athletes Savinova surprisingly leads over the African runners.
Men’s 800 metres - The most awaited athlete is Pole Marcin Lewandowski, European champion in Barcelona 2010 with a PB of 1’43”84. Lewandowski ran two of his four fastest times on Italian soil (in Rieti), where he has never won during his career. He will take on strong British middle-distance runner Andrew Osagie, who won the World indoor bronze medal in Istanbul. In his seasonal debut he improved his PB to 1’44”64 in the first leg of the Samsung Diamond League in Doha. Lewandowski won all four previous clashed over Osagie.
1500 metres women - The new generation of middle distance running will clash in the women’s 1500 metres. At the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba won the 1500 metres and Kenyan Hellen Obiri clinched the women’s 3000 metres. They met four times and they tied in their previous clashes, although Dibaba won the last two races with a recent 3’57”77 in the recent Samsung Diamond League meeting in Shanghai where she beat Obiri who finished fourth. The third big name is Mariam Yusuf Jamal (PB 3’56”18), the star from Bahrain who won two world medals in Osaka and Berlin. Jamal tied the previous clashes with Obiri, but lost 2-1 against Dibaba. 2011 World seasonal leader Morgan Uceny from the USA, who is in the lead over all other rivals thanks to an outstanding 2011 season.