Obiri out to vanquish Niyonsaba in Diamond League finale

Olympic silver Hellen Obiri will be out to exact revenge against fast-rising Burundian Francine Niyonsaba in the women’s 5,000m in the Diamond League finale Wednesday evening in Zurich, Switzerland.

The bumper season finale will take place across two days in two different venues.

The men and women’s 5,000m are among events that will be held at the Sechseläutenplatz square on the shores of Lake Zurich.

In addition, diamonds are up for grabs for shot putters, long jumpers, and the competitors of the women’s high jump.

The other events including men and women’s 1,500m, 3,000m steeplechase, 800m, 200m and 100m will be on show at the Letzigrund Stadium Thursday night.

The 5,000m runners will tackle the three bends in the 560m track that has been slightly raised. This will allow competitors to run fast in narrow curve radii.

“However, any records set on the world’s longest temporary track will not be ratified,” the organisers said in a statement, noting that those set at the stadium the second day will count.

Obiri is up against Niyonsaba, who beat her at the penultimate leg of the Diamond league, in Brussels on September 3.

Niyonsaba cruised to a national record and personal best of 14:25.34 to win in Brussels, beating Ethiopian Ejgayehu Taye and Obiri to second and third places in 14:25.63 and 14:26.23 respectively.

Interestingly, Niyonsaba had just won the women’s 3,000m race in Paris in both a national and meet record time of 8:19.08, before claiming victory in the Two Mile race at Prefontaine Classic in a meet record and world lead time of 9:00.75.

Obiri, who is hoping to reclaim the Series she won in 2017 and 2018, finished third in the Two Mile race at Prefontaine Classic, having finished third in 3,000m in Doha, before winning the 5,000m in Oslo.

Niyonsaba’s wins came after she was disqualified in the 5,000m semi-finals at Tokyo Olympics where Obiri, the World 5,000m champion, settled for silver with Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands winning.

Also in the race is Taye, Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet, who stunned defending champion Obiri to win the 3,000m race in Doha and World 10,000m silver medalist Margaret Chelimo.

“It has been a long season but it’s my intention to wrap up with victory for my third Series title,” said Obiri, who welcomed Niyonsaba’s challenge, saying it will spice up the event.

Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli, who missed the medal bracket to settle fourth in men’s 5,000m final at Tokyo Olympics, is among the Kenyans who will be out to stop the legion from Ethiopia led by Tokyo Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega.

Others are Michael Kibet and Jacob Krop, while the other Ethiopians are World 10,000m silver medallist Yomif Kejelcha, the winner of 3,000m in Oslo and Berihu Aregawi. Barega won the Series in 2018, while Kejelcha won in 2015.

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, the Olympic 5,000mn champion, won’t be defending his 5,000m title in a race where the Swiss fans will be able to cheer on local star Jonas Raess.

On Thursday, Olympic 1,500m silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot, the back-to-back Series winner from 2017 to 2019, will be competing for the first time since the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Cheruiyot will renew his rivalry with Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who beat him in the 1,500m final in Tokyo.

Also in the race are Kenyans Abel Kipsang, who finished fourth at Tokyo Olympics, despite breaking the Olympic Record in the semi-finals, Ronald Kwemoi and Charles Simotwo.

The focus in the women’s 1,500m final will definitely be the rematch between Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepngétich from Kenya and Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan, who claimed silver in 1,500m at the Olympics, as well as gold in 10,000m and 5,000m.

Credit: Source link