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Obiri out to conquer deep field in Stanford

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Hellen Obiri wins the 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha (Jiro Mochizuki) © Copyright

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – On form world champion Hellen Obiri headlines the greatest field of women distance runners ever assembled on US soil for the Prefontaine Classic 3000m when the IAAF Diamond League heads to Stanford on June 30.

World 5000m and cross-country champion Obiri will be making her sixth appearance at the Prefontaine Classic. She set meeting records at 1500m in 2013 and 2014, then won the 5000m in 2016.

The Kenyan, who won the 5000m IAAF Diamond League title in 2018, is undefeated this year and won the 3000m at the opening leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Doha earlier this month in a world-leading 8:25.60.

Multiple world record-holder and five-time world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba has won all three of her past Pre Classic appearances and her 14:19.76 victory in 2015 is the fastest 5000m ever run in the US.

Sifan Hassan won the 1500m Diamond League trophy in 2015 and followed it with world indoor gold over the same distance in 2016. The Dutch athlete is one of the most versatile runners in history, boasting an 800m PB of 1:56.81 and a half marathon PB of 1:05:15. She also holds the European 5000m record and the world 5km record.

Olympic 10,000m champion and world record-holder Almaz Ayana will be competing in the US for the first time. The Ethiopian won the 2015 world 5000m title, 2016 5000m Diamond Trophy and 2017 world 10,000m title, but missed all of last year with a knee injury.

Obiri, Dibaba, Ayana and Hassan are among the seven fastest women of all time at 5000m, but this will be the first time they have all raced one another at any distance.

The addition of world and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya adds further interest. Although she has contested the distance in low-key domestic races in South Africa, this will be her first international 3000m race.

Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and Senbere Teferi, ranked eighth and ninth respectively on the world 5000m all-time list, are also in the field. Gidey is a two-time world U20 cross-country champion, while Teferi earned world silver medals at 5000m and cross country in 2015.

The field also includes two-time Ethiopian champion Fantu Worku, versatile Kenyan Caroline Chepkoech Kipkurui, world U20 cross-country champion Beatrice Chebet, 2017 world cross-country bronze medallist Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, double European indoor silver edallist Konstanze Klosterhalfen, 2016 European 5000m and 10,000m champion Yasmin Can, European 1500m bronze medallist Laura Weightman, six-time NCAA champion Karissa Schweizer and USA’s Rachel Schneider.

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