Selemon Barega after winning the 5000m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016
Selemon Barega will be one of the most experienced athletes in action in Nairobi.
Since winning the world U20 5000m title last year, the 17-year-old Ethiopian notched up three victories in international cross-country races over the winter before finishing fifth in the U20 race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017.
Earlier this month, he won the African U20 title and four days later clocked 12:55.58 – the second-fastest performance in history by an U18 athlete – to finish second at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne. His 3000m en-route split of 7:53.1 makes him the fastest entrant for the 3000m in Nairobi.
Competing in front of their home fans, pressure will be mounted on the shoulders of Kenyan duo Edward Zakayo and Stanley Mburu Waithaka. Zakayo was an impressive winner at their national U18 championships in Nairobi last month, clocking a PB of 7:53.77 to come home well clear of Mburu, who ran 7:55.99.
Eritrea is another nation whose athletes are always worthy of consideration in this discipline, and their charge is led by Bereket Tedros and Bereket Michael, who have both clocked 8:13 for the distance. Oscar Chelimo of Uganda is also sure to be in contention.
Of the non-Africans in the race, France’s Etienne Daguinos is the fastest performer, though he will likely need to vastly improve on his best of 8:23.10 to challenge for a medal.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF