Selemon Barega on his way to winning over two miles at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News Stanford, USA

Barega to defend his two-mile title in Stanford – IAAF Diamond League

Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega will return to the Prefontaine Classic to defend his two-mile title at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stanford on 30 June.

Barega, the 2016 world U20 champion, won the 2018 Diamond League 5000m title in 12:43.02, a time bettered only by the last three world record setters – two of whom ran before he was born.

Already this year, the 19-year-old has finished fifth at the World Cross Country Championships, first over 10,000m at the Ethiopian Championships and has recorded a season’s best of 12:53.04 for 5000m.

Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo finished second to Barega in the two-mile race at last year’s Prefontaine Classic. He may have one eye on the North American best of 8:07.07 set by Matt Tegenkamp in 2007.

Asian champion Birhanu Balew was the only athlete to beat Barega on the IAAF Diamond League circuit last year. The Bahraini runner, who finished third in this event at last year’s Pre Classic, will be looking to get the better of Barega once again.

Abadi Hadis, the 2017 world cross-country bronze medallist, recently came close to his 5000m PB with 12:56.48 in Rome. The versatile Ethiopian also equalled his half marathon PB of 58:44 earlier this year.

Olympic bronze medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet will be contesting the distance for the first time. The Ethiopian has finished third over 5000m in Shanghai and Rome so far this year and second over 10,000m in Stockholm.

World cross-country champion Joshua Cheptegei and fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo are also in the field. Kiplimo finished 11th in this race last year, setting a national record of 8:25.17 – a time that should be within range for both men this time round.

Mo Ahmed, who last week lowered the Canadian 5000m record to 12:58.16, was also in last year’s Pre Classic two-mile race, finishing fourth.

Getaneh Molla made headlines earlier this year when he won the Dubai Marathon in 2:03:34, the fastest debut marathon in history. The Ethiopian will be moving down in distance in Stanford.

While younger brothers Filip and Jakob will line up for the mile in Stanford, older brother Henrik Ingebrigtsen will contest the two-mile event and will look to improve upon his 8:22.31 fifth-place finish from last year.

Others in the field include world U20 1500m record-holder Ronald Kwemoi, Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui, 2018 world 10,000m leader Richard Yator, world U20 cross-country champion Milkesa Mengesha, Australia’s Stewart McSweyn and Canada’s Justyn Knight.

In other Stanford-related news, world indoor record-holder Yomif Kejelcha has been added to the Bowerman Mile field.

Organisers for the IAAF