Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew, representing Asia-Pacific, and US runner Paul Chelimo, representing the Americas, look the two likely leaders here.
Both men chased home Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha in the hottest 3000m race of the season so far at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat, with Balew finishing second in 7:34.26 – the second fastest time run this year – and Chelimo fourth, both in the race and the list, with 7:34.83.
Chelimo may not be the fastest on paper, but he is the tried and tested man for the big occasion, having won 5000m silver behind Mo Farah at the 2016 Olympics and bronze at last year’s IAAF World Championships in London.
Chelimo finished sixth in the superfast 5000m at last Friday’s IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels in 12:57.55, two places ahead of Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla, representing Africa here, who clocked 12:59.58.
Chances are there also for Balew’s teammate, Stewart McSweyn of Australia. It’s been a long season for him, but he was also in the Rabat race and finished between Balew and Chelimo in 7:34.79.
Chelimo’s teammate Mohammed Ahmed of Canada ran a 7:52.06 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon and finished ninth in Brussels in 13:03.08.
At 16, Kenya’s Edward Zakayo has already amassed a formidable record on the track, having won 5000m bronze at this year’s Commonwealth Games and gold at the African Championships in Asaba and the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere.
For Europe, Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigtsen was European 1500m champion in 2012 and took European 5000m silver in Berlin last month behind his 17-year-old brother Jakob.