EUGENE, Oregon, May 5- Olympic champion, Nancy Jebet Lagat will begin the defence of her Samsung Diamond League title at the June 4 Pre-Fontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.
In what has been dubbed the "Strongest Pre Field Ever” by organisers, Jebet Lagat who added two Commonwealth titles in 800m and 1500m as well as the African crown in her speciality to her Diamond Trophy will take on six other leading female metric milers from last year.
Anna Alminova, 2010 Russian champion and fastest in the world; Gelete Burka, winner of the Lausanne Samsung Diamond League; Mimi Belete, Asian Games champion; Shannon Rowbury, US Olympic Trials winner; Christin Wurth-Thomas, number two ranked in America and Nuria Fernandez, Spain’s European champion are out to topple the champion.
In the women’s two-lap race, Olympic champion, Pamela Jelimo will clash with World titleholder, South Africa’s Caster Semenya as both seek to find their feet after respective season’s of dominace.
Jelimo has paled in comparison to the teenage phenomenon who pounded all comers to submission in 2008 where she set the 1:54:01 world junior record and remained unbeaten in 13, crashing out of the Berlin World Championships semis in addition to running to a worrying sequence of last place and Did Not Finish.
A season later, it was the turn Semenya to stun the competition when she ran the world leading 1:55:45 for the title in Berlin in only her third race over the distance and like Jelimo, fell from the limelight when an international storm was generated about her gender.
World body IAAF cleared her to compete as a female runner late last year after the saga dragged on for 11 months.
Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica, the current world leader at 1:59.63, Jemma Simpson of Great Britain and the Oregon Track Club and American Anna Pierce are also in the Pre-Fontaine women two-lap showdown.