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Obiri, Kipyegon lead deep field for Oregon

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Hellen Obiri wins the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (Kirby Lee)Hellen Obiri wins the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

Hellen Obiri wins the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (Kirby Lee)Hellen Obiri wins the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

OREGON, April 14- The Kenyan duo of Helen Obiri and Faith Kipyegon will be part of an elite field of athletes competing over 1500m in this year’s  Prefontaine Classic at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene May 28.

This year’s race will feature potentially the best women’s 1500m field in the 41-year history of the meeting.

Five of the women in the field have Personal Bests faster than four minutes, meaning the US all-comers’ record of 3:57.05 set at this meeting in 2014 could be under threat.

Kipyegon has a rare collection of medals having won the world youth 1500m title and world junior cross-country title in 2011 and followed it with world junior 1500m gold and a second world junior cross-country title in 2012.

One year later, she set a Kenyan senior and African junior record of 3:56.98.

Winner at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and twice a champion at the hotly contested Kenyan Cross Country Championships, Kipyegon took the silver medal at last year’s World Championships and rounded out her season by winning the mile at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Brussels with an African record of 4:16.71.

Compatriot Obiri, who will be making a comeback from maternity leave, has twice broken the US all-comers’ 1500m record in Eugene, first with her 3:58.58 victory in 2013 and then with her 3:57.05 triumph one year later.

The 26-year-old owns global medals of every color: 3000m gold at the 2012 World Indoor Championships, 3000m silver at the 2014 World Indoor Championships and 1500m bronze at the 2013 World Championships.

Obiri took last year off to give birth to her daughter, but returned to action last month and clocked a 5000m PB of 15:28.5 at altitude in Nakuru.

The meet will be an ideal place for the two to test their speed and fitness especially with the Kenyan Olympic trials coming just over a month later.

World indoor champion and Dutch record-holder Sifan Hassan is the fastest in the field with a best of 3:56.05. The 23-year-old achieved her first sub-four-minute performance at this meeting in 2014 before going on to win European titles indoors, outdoors and at cross country.

Hassan was the 1500m Diamond Race winner last year and took bronze in that event at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay who is a world junior silver medalist and world indoor bronze medalist at 1500m is also in the field.

Fellow Ethiopian Axumawit Embaye who took 1500m silver at the 2014 World Indoor Championships while still a teenager and went on to set a lifetime best of 4:02.35 later that year will also be part of this elite field.

Morocco’s Rababe Arafi has also been drafted into the list and after achieving a feat of being the only woman to reach the finals of both the 800m and 1500m at least year’s World Championships, she is expected to draw in a lot of competition.

The 25-year-old won the African 1500m title in 2012 and has a PB of 4:02.71.

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