World and Olympic 1,500m champion Conseslus Kipruto will finally make his season debut when he lines up in the men’s 1500m race in the Diamond Leagues’ season finale in Doha, Qatar, Friday.
It will be Conseslus’ first 1,500m race in five years.
The 25-year-old Kenyan will be joined by his two fellow medallists from last year’s World Championships, Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma and Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, who have set PBs this year of 3:35.67 and 3:34.51 respectively.
Kipruto may have proven time and again that he is the best over the barriers, but this is a test to see who has the greatest foot speed.
Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega, the world 5000m silver medallist, will also step down in distance in a bid to improve on his recent PB of 3:36.07.
Australia’s Stewart McSweyn, fresh from setting an Oceanian 3000m record in Rome, has the fastest seasons best of the field (3:31.48) and will be a formidable opponent.
The 1500m will be without world champion Timothy Cheruiyot because he too is stepping down in distance and will compete in the 800m race instead.
A titanic clash between world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri and world steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech is expected in the women’s 3,000m race.
Five medalists from four different disciplines at last year’s World Championships will be in action in Doha.
Obiri opened her outdoor campaign in Monaco last month, winning the 5000m in a world-leading 14:22.12, just four seconds shy of her Kenyan record.
She has fond memories of Doha, too, as it is where she set a Kenyan 3000m record of 8:20.68 in 2014, following it with victories over 3000m at Doha’s Diamond League meeting last year and over 5000m at the World Championships at the same venue.
Chepkoech also opened her outdoor season in Monaco, clocking 14:55.01 for 5000m, and she followed it with a 9:10.07 run for second place in the steeplechase at the Continental Tour meeting in Berlin earlier this month.
The steeplechase world record-holder is one of four women in the field with a PB inside 8:30.
Other athletes in the field who stood on the podium in Doha last year include 5000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, 10,000m bronze medallist and 2015 world cross-country champion Agnes Tirop, and 1500m bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay.
In fact, all 16 women in the field own a medal from a global or continental championship or hold a world or continental record.
The competition will take place without the audience at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium in compliance with the country’s COVID 19 precautionary measures.