Previews16 Feb 2016

Dibaba aiming for another world indoor record in Stockholm


Genzebe Dibaba setting a 5000m world indoor record at the 2015 XL-galan meeting in Stockholm (© DECA Text&Bild)

Genzebe Dibaba returns to the Globen Galan on Wednesday (17) in search of a third consecutive world indoor record there in what will be her only IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting of the winter.

After setting world indoor records over 3000m and 5000m in her past two appearances at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena, Dibaba will attempt to better the 26-year-old world indoor mile record of 4:17.14 set by Romania’s Doina Melinte.

This Stockholm meeting – the third of the four events that make up the new IAAF World Indoor Tour – has hosted 16 world indoor records since its inception in 1990.

The 25-year-old Ethiopian’s world indoor record attempt is one of three scheduled on the night. Djibouti’s world indoor 1500m champion Ayanleh Souleiman has set his sights on the 1000m mark of 2:14.96 run in 2000 by Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer, and Qatar’s 18-year-old 400m specialist Abdalelah Haroun targets the world indoor 500m mark of 1:00.09 set last year by Brycen Spratling.

Dibaba – voted IAAF Athlete of the Year in 2015 after a season in which she won the world 1500m title and ran a world record of 3:50.07 – will expect her main opposition to come from compatriots Axumawit Embaye, the 21-year old world indoor silver medallist, and world junior silver medallist Gudaf Tsegay.

Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, the second-fastest indoor 1500m runner of all time behind Dibaba, has had to drop out of the event with a reported back injury.

Souleiman – who like Dibaba and Haroun is coached by Jama Aden – won the 1000m in Stockholm three years ago in a Djiboutian record of 2:17.05 before going on to improve his outdoor bests to 1:42.97 over 800m and 3:29.58 over 1500m. Kenya’s up-and-coming 23-year-old world 1500m silver medallist Elijah Manangoi will also be in the 1000m field.

Haroun made an unexpected breakthrough in Stockholm last year in setting an Asian record of 45.39 in the B race, almost a second faster than the winning time of world indoor champion Pavel Maslak in the A race.

Eight of the 13 featured events will count towards the IAAF World Indoor Tour standings, which will be completed at Saturday’s concluding meeting in Glasgow. The individual overall winner of each event will receive US$20,000 in prize money and wild card qualification for the next edition of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, starting with next month’s competition in Portland.

The men’s 60m offers Kim Collins, the 2003 world 100m champion who turns 40 in April, the opportunity to demonstrate that he still has all it takes to remain at the forefront of world sprinting. The man from St Kitts and Nevis takes on a field that includes 30-year-old Mike Rodgers of the United States, who ran 6.53 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Saturday to make it two wins out of two on the World Indoor Tour so far.

Collins, who has also run 6.53 this season, has beaten Rodgers in seven of their past eight meetings. Watch out too for 20-year-old Trayvon Bromell, an unexpected world 100m bronze medallist last season, who finished second behind Rodgers in Boston in 6.57.

The men’s long jump will not count towards the standings, but it will offer one of the high points of interest for home supporters as Sweden’s Michel Torneus and Andreas Otterling, respectively gold and bronze medallists at last year’s European Indoor Championships, take on a field which includes three of the top four at last year’s World Championships.

Torneus has won four of the past five editions of this meeting, but he will have his work cut out to add another victory given the presence of Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre and the Chinese pair of Wang Jianan and Gao Xinglong, respectively second, third and fourth in Beijing.

The women’s long jump, a World Indoor Tour event, is of a similarly high quality, involving Britain’s Shara Proctor, who took silver in Beijing with a national record of 7.07m, and bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic of Serbia.

Cuba’s world indoor and outdoor champion Yarisley Silva heads the entries in the women’s pole vault, which also features Brazil’s 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer and Greece’s 2015 IAAF Diamond Race winner Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou.

Home interest will centre on 2015 Swedish Athlete of the Year Angelica Bengtsson, fourth at last year’s World Championships.

The men’s 800m brings together a potent field including Ethiopia’s world indoor champion Mohammed Aman, Poland’s world indoor silver medallist and European champion Adam Kszczot and world bronze medallist Amel Tuka of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the men’s 3000m, the Ethiopian pair of Yenew Alamirew and 18-year-old world junior 5000m champion Yomif Kejelcha, second in the opening World Indoor Tour 3000m in Karlsruhe, will take on a Kenyan contingent headed by Isiah Koech and Paul Kipsiele Koech.

The men’s shot put field has a hard act to follow in the wake of the world-leading mark of 21.57m achieved by Kurt Roberts in Saturday’s meeting at Boston. Poland’s Michal Haratyk, who has thrown a personal best of 21.35m this season, looks the most likely challenger along with Canada’s Tim Nedow, who has reached 21.00m this year.

Sweden’s 2012 European 400m champion Moa Hjelmer, back in the running after taking time out to have a child, will test herself in her first run in three years on this once-familiar track against the Czech Republic’s double world 400m hurdles champion Zuzana Hejnova, who has a 400m personal best of 51.27 and has run 52.85 this season.

The women’s high jump looks likely to be won either by Spain’s European champion and world indoor silver medallist Ruth Beitia or Germany’s Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch, both of whom have cleared 1.94m this season.

Home 200m runner Irene Ekelund, with a season’s best of 23.64, will have her work cut out to make an impression on Jeneba Tarmoh of the United States, who has a best of 22.88, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye, who has clocked 23.38 this season.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF