Shanghai DL Women’s Preview: World Champions Abebe Aregawi and Jenny Simpson To Battle, Rematch of Top 5 From Moscow Steeple With Bridget Franek and Emma Coburn

May 17, 2014

The first Diamond League meeting of the year in Doha was truly spectacular across the board and especially in the mid-d and distance events. Top stars didn’t avoid each other, incredible times were put up in some events (men’s 1500 and women’s 3000), and there was a thrilling finish in the marquee matchup of the night (Amos versus Aman at 800). Plus there was a raucous crowd.

To be truthful, we highly doubt Shanghai will be able to top Doha on the whole but it will on at least two fronts. One, it comes on a weekend so it will be easier for fans to watch on Sunday morning (8 am ET). Two, the marquee mid-d matchup features an American – Jenny Simpson versus Abebe Aregwai at 1500. Below we preview the two women’s mid-d and distance events – the women’s 1,500 and steeple. Our preview of the men’s action is here: Shanghai DL Men’s Preview: Mo Aman Looks For 17 In a Row Against Sowinski, Mulder and Johnson and The World’s 4 Fastest 5000 Men From 2013 Will Battle.

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The IAAF preview of the full meet is now finally out.

Women’s 1500: World Champions Abebe Aregawi and Jenny Simpson Set To Clash – Can Simpson Break 4:00?

The women’s mid-d and distance action at the second Diamond League meet of the year on Sunday in Shanghai is all about one thing – Abeba Aregawi versus Jenny Simpson in the 1500.

Simpson made Aregawi work for it in Moscow *More Jenny Simpson Moscow Photos Simpson made Aregawi work for it in Moscow *More Jenny Simpson Moscow Photos

The 2013 gold medallist (Aregawi) versus the 2011 gold medallist  (Simpson), the 2013 gold medallist versus the 2013 silver medallist (Simpson), the Swede (Aregawi) versus the American (Simpson).

Aregawi, of course, is the favorite. Having run 3:56 in each of the last two years, she is one of greatest presumably clean 1500 runners in history. There is a reason why she’s won 17 straight 1500s counting heats, including a perfect 13 for 13 in 2013.

Simpson, who ran 3:59.90 back in college in 2009, is no slouch.  As great as Aregawi was in 2013, it needs to be remembered that Simpson was inching back on her in the final 60 meters of the  women’s 1500 final at last summer’s Moscow World Championship. One thing Simpson has going for her is we know she’s in shape. She won  by 3.58 seconds in an outdoor world leading 4:03.91 in Tokyo last Saturday.

Given the fact that Aregawi totally dominated the 1500 final at World Indoors in March and is on the startling list for Shanghai, it’s safe to assume that Aregawi is in good shape as well, but she hasn’t raced outdoors so far this year.

Historically, Aregawi opens up very, very well. In 2012, she opened here in Shanghai at 1500 and ran 3:59.23 (but lost as Dibaba ran 3:57.77). Last year, she ran 3:56.60 in her DL opener in Doha.

American fans will also be happy to know that both 2013 US champ Treniere Moser and 2011 world #1 Morgan Uceny are in the field. While both are looking to regain their old magic, they come in with slightly different amounts of momentum. After a resurgent 2013 and a great start to her indoor campaign, Moser hasn’t been as good outdoors early this year as she was last year. Uceny, on the other hand, really struggled last year and while not running great in 2014 (she was beaten by Moser in Drake), she has already almost equaled her 2013 seasonal best of 4:08.49..

Quick Thought #1: We expect Aregawi to win but 2014 is all about running fast for Simpson. It’s hard to believe given her world title in 2011 and her even better 2013 season that her pb still dates from college. Will she break 4:00.00 for the 2nd time ever on Sunday?

Quick Thought #2: We list the full field below but would be really surprised if the top three in this race aren’t Aregawi, Simpson and Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot in some order. Kibiwott was 4th at Worlds last year in the 5k and 4th in Doha two weeks ago in a stellar 8:24. She has a 3:59 pb and more importantly ran 4:00 last year. In terms of 2013 seasonal bests, the field goes Aregawi (3:56.60), Simpson (4:00.48) and Kibiwott (4:00.76). After that it really drops off and goes down to Moser at 4:02.85.
Full field below. It’s worth noting that the world junior indoor mile record holder Kalkidan Gezahegne, now 23, has switched from Ethiopia to Bahrain. Let’s hope Mary Cain isn’t running for some Asian country in 5 years.

Athlete DATE OF BIRTH Nation PB SB Comment
AREGAWI Abeba 05.07.1990 SWE 3:56.54 World outdoor and indoor champ has run 3:56 last two years. Has won 17 straight 1500s counting prelims.
BELETE Mimi 09.06.1988 BRN 4:00.25 20 year old went out in heats of World Indoors but ran 8:30.00 in Doha. That only got her 8th.
GEZAHEGNE Kalkidan 08.05.1991 BRN 4:00.97 Mary Cain fans watch out. She’s the world junior record holder in indoor mile who was WC finallist at 18, but now at 23 is switching countries. Only 4:06 last year.
HASSAN Sifan 01.01.1993 NED 4:03.73 21-yr old was 5th in 3k at World Indoors, won Payton Jordan in 14:59 pb.
KIBIWOT Viola Jelagat 22.12.1983 KEN 3:59.25 4th in 5k in Moscow, 4th in Doha las tweek in 8:24.41
KOSTER Maureen 03.07.1992 NED 4:06.50 21yr old only ran 2:07 and 2:43 indoors. How did she get in this field?
LIU Fang 25.02.1990 CHN 4:07.90 4:27.45 Only ran 4:13 last year and 4:27 in April. How did she get in the field?
MOSER Treniere 27.10.1981 USA 4:02.85 4:08.58 5th at World Indoors, 5th at Drake.
SIMPSON Jennifer 23.08.1986 USA 3:59.90 4:03.91 Silver in Moscow, is world leader early so far this year. Running here but not at World Relays.
TSEGAY Gudaf 23.01.1997 ETH 4:07.27 17-year old went out of heats of World Indoors.
TVERDOSTUP Tamara 17.07.1979 UKR 4:07.43 Is the 34-year old the rabbit. Hasn’t broken 4;10 since 2009. Former 2:00.76 800 runner.
UCENY Morgan 10.03.1985 USA 4:00.06 4:08.68 Former world #1 has been racing a lot trying to regain old form. Only 6th in Drake 1500 and 6th in Bloomington 800. Should break last year’s best of 4:09.49.
WAFULA Lydia 15.02.1988 KEN 4:12.95 Another rabbit?
ZHAO Jing 09.07.1988 CHN 4:10.67 25-year old ran 2:01.46 for 800 in 2012.

Discuss: Jenny Simpson Shanghai Prediction Thread 

Women’s Steeplechase – A Moscow Rematch – The Top 5 From Worlds Battle As The Returns of Emma Coburn and Bridget Franek Get Serious

Chemos celebrates her DL win last summer Chemos celebrates her DL win last summer

The top five steeplers from women’s final of last summer’s Moscow World Championship will all be racing in Shanghai. The favorite on paper is reigning world champ Milcah Chemos of Kenya, who has dominated the DL in recent years and now has a gold medal to go with that domination. However, we found an article in Kenya where Chemos admitted she’s not in the same shape as last year. “I wouldn’t say I am in my best shape like last year,” said Chemos to The Nation.

Two-time US champion Emma Coburn, who missed the pro season last year with injury, is in the field along with her 2012 Olympic teammate Bridget Franek who has returned to the sport after taking a sabbatical last summer. Might this be the first sub 9:20 of Franek’s career? Jamie Cheever of the US is also racing.

Quick Thought #1: That stats say definitely bet on Milcah Chemos and definitely don’t bet on Sofia Assefa. Kenya’s Milcah Chemos won 8 of 10 races last year including the world championship. That being said, she was only fifth in the DL opener at the start of last year. Ethiopia’s Sofia Assefa was second or third in all eight of her steeples last year (no wins).

Athlete DOB Nation PB SB Comment
ADAMU Birtukan 29.04.1992 ETH 9:20.37 Ran her pb (a WJR) in 2010. Won WJ silver that year. Hasn’t broken 9:36 since.
ASSEFA Sofia 14.11.1987 ETH 9:09.00 Fell at Worlds but still got bronze. Also bronze in 2012.
AYALEW Hiwot 06.03.1990 ETH 9:09.61 4th worlds, 5th Olympics. Also world xc silver in 2013. 11th at World indoors this year in 3k.
BEKELE Mekdes 20.01.1987 ETH 9:20.23 Ran pb in 2008, only 9:41 last year.
CHEBET Ruth 17.11.1996 BRN 9:40.84 9:55.38 Asian champ used to run for Kenya. Ran 9:40 last year. Just 17 years young.
CHEEVER Jamie 28.02.1987 USA 9:29.13 9:55.83 Just 9th at Payton Jordan in steeple on May 4
CHEMOS Milcah 24.02.1986 KEN 9:07.14 Has dominated DL circuit in recent years, now is world champ.
CHEPKURUI Lidya 23.08.1984 KEN 9:12.55 Silver in Moscwow, only 8:55 for 3k indoors this year.
CHEROTICH Fancy 10.08.1990 KEN 9:28.04 23 year old
COBURN Emma 19.10.1990 USA 9:23.54 2-time NCAA and US champ missed most of season last year with injury. What will she do in 1st year as pro? Had good start last wek as nearly equaled her 1500 pb y running 4:07.49 in Tokyo.
DIRO NEDA Etenesh 10.05.1991 ETH 9:14.07 5th at Worlds, 6th at Olympics, still just 23.
EL OUALI ALAMI Salima 29.12.1983 MAR 9:31.03 30-year old
FRANEK Bridget 08.11.1987 USA 9:29.53 9:56.72 2010 NCAA champ and 2012 Olympian took a sabbatical from the sport last summer. Won Oregon Relays in 9:56 so far this year.
KIPKEMBOI Gladys Jerotich 15.10.1986 KEN 9:13.22 2004 world jr champ ran 9:13 in 2010, didn’t compete in 2011 and 2012 and ran 9:36.66 last year.
KIRUI Purity 13.08.1991 KEN 9:19.42 2010 world junior champ opened year with big 9:19 pb last year, didn’t break 9:24 the rest of year.
LI Zhenzhu 13.12.1985 CHN 9:32.35 Set a then Asian record in 2007, only 9:53 last year.
MASAI Magdalene 04.04.1993 KEN 21-year old hasn’t run steeple before on circuit. 15:17 5000 pb.
NYAMBURA Virginia 20.07.1993 KEN 9:58.08 20-year old won Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
WANG Mei 22.12.1993 CHN 10:14.19 Good thing she doesn’t go to school in the US as her name would be made fun of

*Watch Live or on Demand Sunday: Sunday’s meet is at 8am eastern/5 pacific. *Start lists/schedule here.
You can watch it live on Universal Sports in the United States. There is now a way to watch Universal Sports and some other sport and international news channels on your computer, iphone/ipad, android devoice, or roku for $10/ a month via DishWorld without a cable subscription. 48 hour free trial if you want to test it out.  More info here.

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