ÅF Golden League Preview: ExxonMobil Bislett Games

Top-shelf distance races highlight a high powered night in Oslo.

The second stop on the IAAF’s ÅF Golden League is the nordic city of Oslo, Norway for the ExxonMobile Bislett Games. Although the distance races longer than 500m have been absent the last couple of years, they return this year to highlight the action.

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Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, world record holder at 5000 and 10,000 meters ,will continue his quest for the Golden League jackpot in the men’s 5000m in Oslo. Taking on Bekele is the “who’s-who” of elite 5000m runners, with 10 competitors with PRs under 13:00. Among the list of potential spoilers are “Mr. Silver Medal” Sileshi Sihine (PR 12:47.04) of Ethiopia, world cross country champion Zersenay Tadese (PR 12:59.21) of Eritrea and Kenyan Moses Masai (PR 12:50.55).

Although world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba has withdrawn due to “shin splints” (are you serious?!?!), the women’s 5000m may well be more exciting than the men’s. Former world record holder Meseret Defar (PR 14:12.88) will square off against the number three all-time performer Vivian Cheruiyot (PR 14:22.51) of Kenya and Meselech Melkamu (PR 14:33.83) of Ethiopia who recently became the number two all-time performer at 10,000m (29:53.80). Although a world record may not be in the cards we very well may see the first race in history with three women under 14:20, if only Dibaba were healthy!

Not to overshadow the “signature” event of the meet, the men’s Dream Mile will feature a stellar field. World leader in the 1500m, Kenyan Augustine Choge set his mile PR of 3:50.30 at this meet last year, and will certainly look to break the 3:50 barrier in route to a win. Up for the challenge of denying Choge the coveted Dream Mile title are Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia who set his national record in Oslo last year, clicking off a 3:49.72, and Bahraini Bilal Mansour Ali who set his PR of 3:52.35 in…you guessed it Oslo.

Look for some great battles between Golden League jackpot candidate Daniel Bailey of Antigua and former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica in the men’s 100m, local hero Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway taking on his Scadanavian rival Tero Pitkämäki of Finaland in the men’s javelin and Abubaker Kaki of Sudan making his 2009 Golden League debut in the 800m against Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia and Mohammed Al-Salhi of Saudi Arabia.

For More: IAAF Preview

For More: ExxonMobile Bislett Games Website

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