STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 1- Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium has witnessed three world steeplechase records; there could be a fourth at the Bauhaus-Galan, an IAAF Diamond League meeting, on June 16.
Kenyan-turned Bahraini Ruth Jebet and Hyvin Kiyeng, both of whom missed the existing world record by little more than one second at the recent IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, will play the leading roles.
Jebet, the world junior champion, became the second woman to break the nine-minute barrier when she clocked an Asian record of 8:59.97 in Eugene. But world champion Hyvin Kiyeng made up significant ground in the final stages of that race to finish just four hundredths of a second behind the Bahraini teenager.
The pair will be pushed in Stockholm by a great field that includes Ethiopia’s Olympic silver medallist Sofia Assefa, 2015 Diamond Race winner Virginia Nyambura and African champion Hiwot Ayalew, who won the most recent steeplechase race in Stockholm two years ago.
Home fans will enjoy the close battle between Swedish record-holder and European silver medallist Charlotta Fougberg and Finland’s Stockholm-based Sandra Eriksson.
As is tradition at the Bauhaus-Galan, if the winner of the race breaks the stadium record of 9:10.36, set by Habiba Ghribi in 2012, they would be rewarded with a diamond.
The 1912 Olympic Stadium hosted steeplechase world records across three consecutive decades. Finland’s Jouko Kuha raced to 8:24.2 in 1968.
Local hero Anders Garderud ran 8:09.8 in 1975, six days after his first world record and one year ahead of his Olympic gold in Montreal, while Kenya’s Peter Koech recorded the first electronically timed world record in the event in 1989 when he clocked 8:05.35 in Stockholm.