News06 Apr 2023

World indoor record-holder Girma takes on five global gold medallists in Doha


Yomif Kejelcha, Timothy Cheruiyot, Lamecha Girma, Selemon Barega and Soufiane El Bakkali

Lamecha Girma, who set a world indoor 3000m record earlier this year, will contest that same distance at the Doha Meeting, taking on a field that includes five winners of global titles at the Wanda Diamond League opener on 5 May.

In his only appearance of the indoor season, the 22-year-old Ethiopian clocked a stunning 7:23.81 in Lievin to take more than a second off the world indoor record that had stood to Daniel Komen for 25 years. Only two men in history – Komen and Hicham El Guerrouj – have ever gone faster than that outdoors.

Girma, the Olympic and two-time world steeplechase silver medallist, will now make his outdoor 3000m flat debut on 5 May.

He will be one of several men vying for victory, though. His opponents include his arch rival over the barriers, world and Olympic steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali, who has been unbeaten since September 2021.

“This is a big year for me as I prepare to defend my world title in Budapest and I want to get it off to a good start,” said El Bakkali. “By racing against such a strong field in this opening meeting of the Wanda Diamond League, I will see how much work I still have to do.”

The line-up also includes Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega of Ethiopia, 2019 world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya, two-time world indoor 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia, world U20 cross-country champion Ishmael Kipkirui of Kenya, and world 5000m bronze medallist Oscar Chelimo of Uganda.

Organisers for World Athletics