NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – With the football world enjoying a slow return to action for most of the European Leagues, it will be athletics’ turn on Thursday night when the Oslo leg of the World Athletics Diamond League goes down, but in a different and unique manner.
The Bislett Games in Norway will turn into a virtual battle, with the highlight of the night being the 2,000m Maurie Plant Memorial race that pits the Ingebrigtsen brothers of Jakob, Filip and Henrik against World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot who will team up with Commonwealth Champion Elijah Manangoi and Edward Meli.
How it works:
Team Cheruiyot will race at the Nyayo National Stadium while Team Ingebrigtsen will race at the Bislett Stadium in Oslo. Each team will have three competing athletes and two rabbits (pacemakers). Only three athletes will cross the line.
The race will be televised on Split Screen, with the average time of each team being used to determine the winner.
The Ingebrigtsen brothers will be looking to break the 2,000m European record.
Where to watch:
In Kenya, SuperSport have acquired rights to screen the race and it will be available on SuperSport 8 from 8:35pm. The same will also be streamed live by the World Athletics and Bislett Games Facebook pages and YouTube Channels.
Will there be other races?
The Maurie Plant memorial will just be one of the races on cards.
Also included is 400m hurdles world champion Karsten Warholm’s attempt at a world record over 300m hurdles, and a virtual pole vault showdown between world record holder Norwegian Mondo Duplantis and Diamond League record champion Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie who will compete from his garden in France.
What they are saying:
Timothy Cheruiyot: We have been preparing very well for the race and we are hoping to do well. I am happy to race again especially at home and I am ready for the challenge. We know they will have an advantage over us because of the altitude but we will give our best.
Elijah Manangoi: We are ready and just waiting for the race to compete and see how it goes. It’s a new thing running a virtual race but we will try our best. We are running five laps while we are used to three and a half but we will see how to deal with the extra 500m.
Team Captain Henrik: We are ready to race again because it’s been so long. We are still in training mode but we have to change our mindset tonight and get the competition race mode locked on. It’s different to race without fans but we have to work with ourselves and mindset, and I think we will be on fire and ready to go.
Jakob: Of course we have something to compare ourselves to. They are trying their best and we have to be able to match that and race faster. We are better in 5,000m as a group and for us it will be fun to see how we do against Cheruiyot and Manangoi in one extra lap. It’s a different race, but we should look at it like a mile, just keep steady pace and go out at the last 500m.
Filip: We did a skype call with Cheruiyot’s team and it was easy to tell they really want to win and compare against other runners. The beauty of track and field is to measure up against other athletes and see where you stand compared to each other.