The Meeting International Mohammed VI D’Athletisme de Rabat 2016 organisers clearly believe very fast, and have staged her event as the finale to the first IAAF Diamond League meeting in Africa.
Almaz Ayana Last June, clocked an African 3000m record of 8:22.22 in Rabat and her recent win over the same distance in Doha in a world-leading 8:23.11 prompts the question, how fast can she run over 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in the Moroccan city on Sunday (22)?
Consequently, it would be fitting if an African distance runner brought the curtain down in suitably spectacular fashion
Of course, improving on the world record of 14:11.15, held by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba since 2008, will be a very tall order for Ayana but Elana Meyer’s African all-comers’ record of 14:44.15, which has stood since 1992, seems like a very attainable target.
Ayana herself has a 5000m personal best of 14:14.32, set at last year’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, which ranks her third on the all-time list, behind Dibaba and her fellow Ethiopian Meseret Defar,
She has seemed imperious in her recent races, including when winning the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 5000m title but among Ayana’s rivals will be yet another outstanding Ethiopian, Senbere Teferi, who took the silver medal behind her in the Chinese capital last August.
Ukraine’s 2013 world high jump champion Bogdan Bondarenko also has fond memories from last year’s Rabat meeting, in its previous incarnation as an IAAF World Challenge competition before it’s recent promotion to the top tier of global one-day meetings, when he cleared 2.36m.
A similar clearance on Sunday would give him an excellent chance of taking the 10 points for first place in the Diamond Race but he faces Italy’s 2016 world indoor champion Gianmarco Tamberi, who will be having his first outing since winning in Portland 10 weeks ago.
Also in the field will be USA’s Erik Kynard, who won the first high jump contest in this year’s IAAF Diamond League, in Doha.