The climax of the evening at the Rabat Diamond League meeting will showcase the men’s 3000m steeplechase event in which home-favorite Soufiane El BAkkali will feature. This will be the first time he runs in his special distance this year after opening the outdoor season with a 3000m flat race at the Doha Diamond League. Being the only sub-8 minute runner –with a 7:58.15 PB- makes him the clear favorite to win, especially with the absence of Lamaecha Girma, his perceived main rival this year, on the start list.
Others who will also be interesting to watch include Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto returning after an injury had put him out of competition for a while; Gatnet Wale, the 2019 Diamond League winner and fourth-place finisher at the World Championships last year; Abraham KIbiwott who is currently ranked fourth in the world, and youngster Amos Serem.
Mary Moraa will feature in the women’s 800m race. She is not the fastest on the start list this season, as that honor goes to Australia’s Catriona Bissett, who leads with a 1:58.32. Neither is Moraa the fastest on paper since that one also goes to Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, who has a personal best time of 1:56.15. However, Moraa has the best finishing speed, supported by the 50.44 she ran in last month’s 400m race at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix. It will be interesting to see how the race will unfold among the three protagonists.
Other sub-1:59 women in the race include USA’s Sage Hurta-Klecker (1:57.85), Anita Hortvat of Slovenia (1:58.96), and Lore Hoffman of Switzerland (1:58.50).
World and Olympic Champion, Norway’s Jacob Ingebrigtsen –ranked 1st in the world- will open his outdoor season in the men’s 1500m race. His main rival will be Kenya’s Abel Kipsang, the only other sub-3:30 runner in the event, and is currently ranked 4th in the world. Kipsang ran 3:32.70 at the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour Gold event in Nairobi earlier this month.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games’ champion, Oliver Hoare of Australia; Spain’s Mario Garcia, who was fourth at the World Championships in Eugene and won bronze at the European Championships last year; and Kenya’s Charles Simotwo are some of the other big stars to watch out for in this race.
There is a heavy presence of Ethiopian stars in the women’s 1500m race led by the World Champion, Tsegay Gudaf. This will be the first outdoor race for the 1500m indoor world record holder holding the record at 3:53.09. So far, she has remained unbeaten throughout the 2023 indoor season. Joining her will be Freweyni Hailu (3:56.28 PB), 17-year-old Birke Haylom, who is the reigning 1500m women WU20 champion, and another youngster Worknesh Mesele who has a PB of 1:58.70 in the 800m and moving up to the 1500m event. Australia’s Linden Hall and USA’s Cory Ann Mcgee will be among the runners trying to prevent an imminent Ethiopian dominance here.
Emmanuel Wanyonyi, who ran a world-leading time of 1:43.32 at altitude in Kasarani about two weeks ago, will return to action in the men’s 800m race. Besides a rematch with Kinyamal, who had finished closely behind him in 1:43.66, he will be facing a loaded field led by Olympic and World Champion Emmanuel Korir. This will be a real test for the 2021 WU20 champion as he seeks to make a mark in the senior category. Canadian Marco Arop will be another big name to watch here.