Marleen Rennings, Shanghai Diamond League meet
oung middle distance stars Sifan Hassan and Faith Kipyegon will renew their 1500m rivalry at this year’s Shanghai Diamond League meeting on 14 May, the meeting organisers announced today.
Kipyegon beat Hassan to the silver medal at the World Championships in Beijing last summer as world record holder Genzebe Dibaba took gold for Ethiopia, and the Kenyan got the better of her Dutch rival again in the final Diamond League race of 2015 when she broke the African record to claim victory in a thrilling one mile race.
But Hassan won the women’s 1500m Diamond Trophy last season and went to claim the world indoor title in Portland last month, adding a first global title to the European Championship crowns she clinched indoors and out in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
With an undefeated indoor season behind her, she will begin her 2016 outdoor campaign full of confidence for the Olympic summer ahead, although Kipyegon will provide the sternest of early-season tests for the 23-year-old.
At 22, the Kenyan is a year younger than her Dutch rival but has already gathered a string of titles to her name having won world junior cross country titles in 2011 and 2013, taken world youth and junior golds on the track in 2011 and 2012, and bagged the Commonwealth Games 1500m crown in Glasgow in 2014.
Both have good reason to relish their return to the Shanghai Stadium – Kipyegon broke the Kenyan junior record when finishing fifth here in 2012, while Hassan lowered the Dutch under-23 record when she was third at this meeting two years ago, announcing herself as a major presence on the women’s middle distance stage.
She went on to break the Dutch senior record twice that season before taking the European title in Zurich, and lowered it again last season in Monaco to a brilliant 3:56.05 as she chased the world-beating Dibaba to the line.
Kipyegon’s own personal best is remarkably similar at 3:56.98, the African junior record she set in Doha three years ago. She has broken four minutes for 1500m every year since, including en route to victory in that Brussels one mile race last September.
With Diamond League points and early bragging rights on the line, the Shanghai crowd can expect another hard-fought battle between two of the most exciting 1500m runners in the world.
More star names will be announced for the 2016 Shanghai Diamond League meeting in the next few weeks.
The 2016 Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday 18 May meeting will include 18 events, 11 for men (100m, 800m, 5000m, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, high jump, pole vault, long jump, shot put, javelin, 4x100m relay) and seven for women (200m, 400m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, high jump, long jump, discus).