NAIROBI, July 17- Thursday’s ninth stop of the 2015 IAAF Diamond League at the 40th edition of the Athletissima in Lausanne will come to a fireworks conclusion if the protagonists in the men 800m race live up to their fiery reputations.
Olympics champion and world record holder, David Rudisha, has the chance to underline his credentials as he continues his long battle to regain his imposing form when he faces world champion, Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia and Botswana’s Commonwealth Games titleholder, Nijel Amos.
Whoever comes on top will have sent a serious message of intent ahead of next month’s IAAF World Championships showdown in Beijing where the trio of celebrated two-lappers are eyeing to ascend to the throne of 800m running.
It took a time of 1:43.56, the fastest run so far this year, for Aman to defeat 2012 Olympic silver medallist Amos, in Rome.
Amos, who clocked 1:43.80 on that night, will have his chance for revenge here, but the issue will be more complicated, indeed much more complicated, given the presence of resurgent record holder Rudisha.
The Kenyan, who has suffered with intermittent injury problems in the last couple of seasons, won in New York in the second fastest time seen so far this year, 1:43.58.
Add to that two other men who have already dipped under 1:44 this season, Kenya’s Job Kinyor and Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France, and it is clear the final track event of the evening is set to be an outstanding race.
Kenya’s interest will be further pricked in the men Javelin where ‘You Tube Man’ Julius Yego puts his reputation on the line having surged ahead of the pack when he unloaded the African, Diamond League and national record besides the world leading mark of 2015 91.93m at the Birmingham leg of the DL.
After returning home to red carpet treatment, Commonwealth and African champion Yego who stoked hopes of a first medal in field events at the Beijing Worlds will content with an all too familiar field led by Bahamas Olympics champion, Keshorn Walcott.
In form Czech world champion, Vítězslav Veselý who was initially declared the winner in Birmingham before Yego’s monster throw that had fallen outside the sector was validated is the main threat and leads the Diamond Race in men’s Javelin.
However, Yego, the first African to throw at an Olympics final in London 2012 before finishing just outside the medals in fourth at the ensuing 2013 Moscow Worlds has the wind in his sails having broken his own national record thrice this season.
He speared his first Kenya record at the May 26 Ostrava Golden Spike, IAAF World Challenge meet with 86.88m for victory before improving to 87.71m on June 4 for second behind Vesely before landing the staggering fifth mark of all time and the best in a decade in Birmingham.
Having started out as a designated rabbit in the opening meet in Doha, Virginia Nyambura has captured the imagination in the women 3000m steeple this season, winning in Qatar, finishing second in Rome before taking the honours in Birmingham.
The protégé of world champion, Milcah Chemos will be the girl to beat in Lausanne where she will come up against fierce challengers led by former World Junior champion, Hyvin Kiyeng who beat her in Rome and Worlds silver medallist, Lidya Chepkirui.
Ethiopian trio, Birtukan Fente Alemu, seasoned Hiwot Ayalew and Etenesh Diro Neda pose the major threat to Kenyan domination.
Nyambura’s run was checked ahead of the Adidas New York meeting when she could not take her place after having issues with her travel papers leaving her determined to stamp her presence.
The eagerly anticipated return of the ‘Buffalo’ Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku will be the centre of attention in the men 5000m showdown.
Mwangangi who swept the boards by winning the World Indoors (3000m), Commonwealth, African, Continental and Diamond League (3000m/5000m) crown last season to complete the quintuple is making a belated start to the season after recovering from knee surgery.
“When I’m ready, I will let you know,” the colourful athlete known for his antics outside the track as much as on it told this writer from Lausanne in relation to his chances to rock the big time ahead of Beijing.
It will not be a smooth re-introduction to the elite circuit for the Kenyan star with Ethiopian teenager, Yomif Kejelcha, 17, who ran the smashing world leading 12:58.39 at the Golden Gala in Rome the man to beat.
The field has a smattering of distance talent with Kenya also offering Japan based World Cross silver medallist, Bidan Karoki, resurgent London Olympics bronze winner, Thomas Longosiwa and the bronze winner from the 2008 Beijings Games, Edwin Soi to the mix.
Ethiopia’s Imane Merga, Mukhtar Idris, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Getaneh Tamire are always dangerous with Uganda’s three-time Commonwealth champion, Moses Ndiema Kipsiro adding more star-dust to the field.
All eyes will however, be on British double Olympics and World champion Mo Farah who is itching to impose his threat after damaging doping claims facing his coach, Alberto Salazar, forced him out of Birmingham.
On his day, he is definitely the man to beat, having not lost in 5000m or 10000m since 2011 when Ethiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan beat him to the gold in the longer race.