Relatively unknown a year ago, USA’s Boris Berian will be the centre of attention in the 800m at this year’s Prefontaine Classic. Last year he waged tactics with the world’s best and finished the season with a best of 1:43.34, more than five seconds quicker than his PB at the beginning of the year.
The 23-year-old has not yet lost a race this year and last month he front-ran his way to victory at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016.
Mohammed Aman has won three global titles. He won the world title in 2013 in between taking world indoor titles in 2012 and 2014.
For the past four years, the Ethiopian record-holder has never finished outside the top two in Eugene, winning in 2013 and 2015 and finishing second in 2012 and 2014.
Like Aman, Poland’s Adam Kszczot has competed in Eugene for the past four years. The world silver medallist, who earlier this year clocked a world-leading indoor time of 1:45.63, will be looking for his first victory at Hayward Field.
Along with Berian, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Amel Tuka was the other big breakthrough performer in the 800m last year. The 25-year-old took almost four seconds off his PB and clocked a world-leading 1:42.51 in Monaco before taking the bronze medal at the World Championships.
Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich, another sub-1:43 performer, finished just outside the medals at the World Championships last year. It was the third major championships in a row in which the 26-year-old had finished fourth, having also done so at the 2014 African Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Qatar’s Abdulrahman Balla is the only 800m runner in the world to have made both the finals at last year’s World Championships and this year’s World Indoor Championships.
Burundi’s Antoine Gakeme claimed the silver medal at the World Indoor Championships behind Berian. The 24-year-old will be making just his second appearance at an IAAF Diamond League meeting.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL