Uganda’s distance maestro, Joshua Cheptegei, who set new bests in the men’s 5,000m in Monaco, 10,000m in Valencia and 5km road, also in Monaco, last season will kick off his Diamond League season tonight in Florence, Italy competing in the 5,000m race.
The world 10,000m champion is aware of the tough competition which includes in-form Norwegian prodigy, Jakob Ingebrigtsen who will also be seeking to land his first 5,000m win of the season after victory in the 1500m in Gateshead.
There is also a trio of Ethiopians lying in wait: Selemon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet, who are ranked fifth and sixth respectively in the all-time list with 12:43.02 and 12:45.82; and Muktar Edris, reigning world 5,000m champion. Moroccan-born Spaniard Mohamed Katir, who won the 5,000m with a personal best in Gateshead, will also be on the start list.
“We have a very strong field, you could speak about the Ethiopian guys, the Canadians, Jakob etc and I believe that the meeting record will be in danger,” Cheptegei said in the press conference.
Last month, Cheptegei won the 3000m race in Ostrava but missed the World Record. ” I am pretty sure that my body is much better than it was in Ostrava and I hope I can target a time of 12.40.” The 5000m race will be on at 920pm and it will be live on DSTV.
In the women category, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo will also face off with World Record holder Siffan Hassan, Faith Kipyegon and Laura Muir while Albert Chemutai will be in the 3000m steeplechase.