Just over a week after breaking the 23-year-old women’s world mile record, Sifan Hassan has switched her focus to this weekend’s International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League meeting at the London Stadium – and her favourite distance, the 5,000 metres.
After running the final lap of the mile in Monaco in 60 seconds to clock 4min 12.33sec – thus breaking the mark of 4:12.56 held by Russia’s 1996 Olympic 800m and 1,500m champion Svetlana Masterkova – Hassan had said that her next race would be a 5,000m, adding: “I don’t know where yet.
“The one world record I would love would be the 5,000m.”
The 11-year-old mark set by Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba in Oslo, 14min 11.15sec, looks a little way off for this 26-year-old naturalised Dutch athlete, who was born at Adama in Ethiopia.
But the European record of 14:22.34 that Hassan ran last year, shortly before winning the European title in Berlin, appears a possible target for her.
That said, the field will include three other women who have run faster than 14:30, including Kenya’s world champion Hellen Obiri, whose best of 12:18.37 places her fifth on the all-time list, two places ahead of Hassan.
Nijel Amos of Botswana was another of the outstanding performers from last week’s Monaco Diamond League meeting, where he ran 1min 41.89sec, the fastest 800m time recorded since the London 2012 Olympics.
He returns to the track where he produced his fastest time, 1:41.73, to win silver in the Olympic final as Kenya’s David Rudisha won gold in a world record of 1:40.91.
His closest challengers are likely to be Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich, who followed him home in a personal best of 1:43.54, Lausanne Diamond League winner Wyclife Kinyamal, who has a season’s best of 1:43.78, and last year’s big arrival, Emmanuel Korir, who has run a best of 1:44:01 this year.
The London Diamond League, as tradition dictates, is spread across two days, with eight scoring events tomorrow – of which the men’s 800m will be one – and seven on Sunday, including the women’s 5,000m.
With Doha due to host the IAAF World Championships from September 28 to October 6, there will be particular attention paid to their world champion high jumper, Mutaz Barshim, who is making his first Diamond League appearance in 13 months.
Barshim, whose best of 2.43m makes him the second best high jumper of all time behind Javier Sotomayor of Cuba – whose world record of 2.45 has stood since 1993 – tore ligaments in his left ankle during an attempt on a would-be world record of 2.46m in Székesfehérvár, Hungary last year.
Since resuming training in April. the native Qatari has made a low key comeback, clearing 2.27m in Sopot, Poland, on June 23.
Also in the field will be Syria's Majd Eddin Ghazal, making a return to the arena where he won world bronze two years ago as Barshim earned gold.
Both days will conclude with 100m finals, and tomorrow’s men’s event will carry an additional emotional residence as home sprinter James Ellington makes a return to elite level after making an enormously courageous recovery from the injuries he sustained in a serious motorbike accident two and a half years ago.
The 33-year-old, whose honours include two European 4x100m gold medals, is among 18 sprinters who will first contest two heats tomorrow ahead of the day’s concluding final.
The favourites include African champion Akani Simbine, Olympic 100m bronze medallist Andre De Grasse and Britain's European champion Zharnel Hughes.
The women’s 100m, which will bring Sunday evening’s action to an end, will see home fans wishing fleetness to Dina Asher-Smith, Britain’s European 100m and 200m champion.
She will need every bit of speed and support against a field that includes Jamaica’s renewed talent Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Olympic champion of 2008 and 2012, who is joint top of this year’s world rankings with 10.73sec, and world silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, who has run 10.93 this season.
Asher-Smith is fourth on this season’s list with a best of 10.91.
The triple jump features another meeting between 18-metre men Christian Taylor of the United States, the world and Olympic champion, and Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Portugal
Taylor holds a 13-7 lead over Pichardo, including wins in their past three meetings, most recently in Monaco where Taylor recorded 17.82m to take victory, his seventh straight this season.
Sweden’s Daniel Stahl, the season's top discus thrower, will start the second day of Diamond League action chasing a seventh consecutive win.
Last Monday, the athlete who leads this year’s listing wth 71.86m became only the third man to throw beyond 70m four times in one competition.
Stahl will face Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres, who threw 70.78m to win in Rabat one month ago, as well as world champion Andrius Gudzius and Olympic champion Christoph Harting.