This is our weekly column from Justin Lagat! Justin has written for us now for a decade, and he is our senior editor in Kenya.
After a short break, the Diamond League season returns with a bang at the Silesia meeting this weekend, with great exciting track competitions to watch.
World number one, Morrocan Soufiane El Bakkali, is the clear favorite to win the men’s 3000m steeplechase race after remaining unbeaten this season. He is the only sub-8 minute runner on the start list with a relatively fresh personal best time of 7:56.68, which he ran less than two months ago at the Rabat Diamond League meeting in front of home crowds.
Soufiane EL BAKKALI, Wilberforce Chemiat KONES
But as he seeks to maintain a winning streak, other runners who just secured their tickets to the world championships in Budapest, including Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale -2nd to El Bakkali in Rabat and 2nd in Diamond League points -Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwott and Leornard Bett, and India’s Avinash Sable, among others, will use the opportunity to study his running keenly and see if there are any cracks to be capitalized on to challenge him in Budapest.
Mary Moraa, who has had an impressive outdoor season winning the Rabat and the Lausanne Diamond League meetings, will feature in the women’s 800m after running a new national record of 50.38 for the 400m at the Kenyan national trials last week. She will face Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, who was third at the Paris and the Lausanne meets and is currently tied for the lead with Australia’s Catriona Bisset with 17 Diamond League points. Bisset, the first to register a world-leading time this year, will also toe the start line.
Mary Moraa takes the 800 meters, in Rabat, photo by Diamond League AG
With an impressive season so far, with wins in Rabat, Oslo, and Lausanne, Jakob Ingebrigtsen stands out in the men’s 1500m race. Great Britain’s Elliot Giles, Kenya’s Abel Kipsang, and Reynold Kipkorir, world U20 champion, will be among the other big stars in this race. Azeddine Habz of France, fourth at the Rabat Diamond League meet, will also be the other star to watch out for.
Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu, winner of the Stockholm 1500m race and the leader of the event in Diamond League points, will be making her debut in the 3000m race. She will face, among others, Kenya’s Lilian Kasait, who was second at the Kenyan national trials in the 5000m race, fellow Lemlem Hailu, Uganda’s Sarah Chelangat, and USA’s Elly Henes.
Elly Henes, USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, July 6-10, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris
An exciting non-Diamond League women’s 1500m race will also feature three sub-4 minute runners. Ethiopia’s Diribe Weltji (3:57.38), Birke Haylom (3:57.66) and Hirut Meshesha (3:57.87).