Glasgow DL Preview: A Great Women’s 1,500, A Totally Loaded Men’s 5000, Emma Coburn Chases The American Record And David Rudisha In The 800
A Fan’s Guide To Friday and Saturday’s Glasgow Diamond League Meeting
July 10, 2014
The Diamond League makes its first-ever stop this weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, as the London Anniversary Games meet takes a break from London as the Olympic stadium gets updated. The Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix spans two days, Friday-Saturday, and will be held at Hampden Park, which normally serves as the national soccer stadium but was closed this year and reconfigured (the playing surface was raised by almost two meters) so that it could host the track and field events at this year’s Commonwealth Games.
There are several interesting events from a distance fan’s perspective, including a loaded women’s 1,500 (Abeba Aregawi, Hellen Obiri, Sifan Hassan), a men’s 5,000 that includes the return of Tariku Bekele and the top four finishers from USAs, Emma Coburn going after the American record in the 3,000 steeplechase and David Rudisha returns to the UK for his first 800 in Britain since his mesmerizing 1:40.91 WR at the Olympics. Newly-crowned US champs Leo Manzano and Ajee’ Wilson will also go in the men’s 1,500 and women’s 800, which aren’t officially Diamond League events but still boast quality fields.
We break down the mid-d/distance events below for you in the order that they occur and tell you what to expect from the meet. So print it out and take it with you to the meet or put it on the couch as you watch on tv. Cost? Zero. Your welcome.
The IAAF preview of the rest of the meet can be found here: IAAF Full meet preview.
Women’s 1,500 (Friday, 2:37 p.m. ET)
|ATHLETE||DATE OF BIRTH||NATION||PR||SB||Comment|
|ARAFI Rababe||12.01.1991||MAR||4:02.71||4:02.71||2012 African champ was a DNF in Paris|
|AREGAWI Abeba||05.07.1990||SWE||3:56.54||3:57.57||Defending world indoor/outdoor champ was 10th in Paris — her worst DL performance since ’11|
|BECKWITH Molly||04.08.1987||USA||4:17.22||Hasn’t finished a 1,500 since 2011; running well in 800 with 3rd at USAs and SB of 1:59.30 for 4th in Lausanne|
|HASAY Jordan||21.09.1991||USA||4:10.28||2nd at USAs 10k; has PRed at 5k and 10k this year — what kind of speed does she have?|
|HASSAN Sifan||01.01.1993||NED||3:57.00||3:57.00||Huge 2.38-sec. PR to win Paris in world-leading time|
|JAMAL Maryam Yusuf||16.09.1984||BRN||3:56.18||4:04.10||2-time world champ was 3rd at world indoor 3k but has been far from her best outdoors|
|MÅKESTAD BOVIM Ingvill||07.08.1981||NOR||4:02.20||4:07.25|
|MOSER Treniere||27.10.1981||USA||4:02.85||4:04.33||2013 US champ has run 4:04 in last two DL 1,500s at NY and Pre. 4:07 this week.|
|OBIRI Hellen||13.12.1989||KEN||3:57.05||3:57.05||Had 6-race win streak snapped in Paris but has still been very good with wins in Doha 3k, Pre 1,500 and #2 time in world|
|SIFUENTES Nicole||30.06.1986||CAN||4:04.65||4:04.87||World indoor bronze medalist was 2nd at Canadian champs and just 13th in Paris|
|UCENY Morgan||10.03.1985||USA||4:00.06||4:04.76||Fall at USAs aside, has continued to get faster this season despite. Ran 4:04 in Paris but only finished 12th.|
|WEIGHTMAN Laura||01.07.1991||GBR||4:00.17||4:00.17||British champ ran big 2.55-sec. PR in Paris; is sub-4:00 next? Only 4 Brits have done it (once on home soil)|
It really is a shame that there’s no World Championships this year (stop us if you’ve heard that one before) because we have no idea who the best 1,500 woman on the planet is. It’s been a long time since the event was as deep as it is right now and all that quality has made the event a treat to watch on the circuit this year.
Already seven women have broken 4:00 and five have broken 3:59. When’s the last time five women broke 3:59 in the same year? 1998.
Who we’d pick to win a theoretical World Championships has varied throughout the year; each of these women could have made a case at some point:
Genzebe Dibaba, Ethiopia: Set world indoor record on February 1 (3:55.17). Fastest time indoors or out since 1997, possibly fastest clean 1,500 ever. Also set world indoor records at 3k (8:16.60) and 2 miles (9:00.48). World indoor 3k champ.
Abeba Aregawi, Sweden: Set European indoor record on February 6 (3:57.91). Won world indoor 1,500 on March 8 by over SIX SECONDS. Won first DL race in Shanghai on May 18 (also won in NY on June 14). Leads DL standings with 10 points (twice as much as second place).
Hellen Obiri, Kenya: Won Doha DL 3k on May 9 in 8:20.68 (possibly fastest clean time ever outdoors). Fastest split on Kenya’s world-record setting 4 x 1,500 at World Relays. Won Pre Classic on May 31 in then-world-leading 3:57.05. Won Kenyan champs on June 7.
Sifan Hassan, Netherlands: Won Paris DL on July 5 in world-leading 3:57.00, defeating Obiri (3rd) and Aregawi (10th) handily. Has either PRed or won in all four of her 1,500s this year (in Paris, she did both).
And then you’ve got American Jenny Simpson, who ran 3:58.28 at Pre and did all of the work for Hassan in Paris only to be outkicked late in the race (Simpson got second in a PR of 3:57.22) and Kenyan Faith Kipyegon (3rd at Pre, 2nd at Kenyan champs, 4th in Paris), who’s always in the mix in big races. Dibaba would likely run the 5k if there was a Worlds this year, but the other five would race the 1,500 and there’s not much to separate them. Hassan made a statement with her win in Paris, but can she back that up in Glasgow? Simpson, Obiri and Kipyegon all ran well in Paris and are more experienced than Hassan. And even though Aregawi was only 10th in Paris, that was an uncharacteristically bad performance — prior to that, she hadn’t finished outside the top two in any 1,500 (indoors or out) since August 2012.
Based on past accomplishments and season form, Aregawi would probably deserve to be a slight favorite at a theoretical Worlds (remember, she won world indoors convincingly in March), but there’s not much a gap between her and the field. In Glasgow, it will be Aregawi against Obiri and Hassan and while we can’t predict the winner, we can say with some confidence that it will be a great race.
Despite all of that, we know many of you will be intently focused farther back, watching the 1500 DL debut of Jordan Hasay.
An employee of a shoe company not named Nike recently emailed us a mini complaint about how we give Hasay more coverage than others with similar PBs. Our response? She’s a brand. A big part of sports is people rooting for and against “brands” – Yankees, Red Sox, Cowboys, etc. Very few runners are “brands”. Given she’s been a star ‘name’ since HS, her performance is something people can relate to positively or negatively.
Men’s 5,000 (Friday, 2:58 p.m. ET)
|ATHLETE||DATE OF BIRTH||NATION||PR||SB||Comment|
|ALAMIREW Yenew||27.05.1990||ETH||12:48.77||13:00.21||DL leader (12 points) is stud on the circuit; wins in Shanghai & Oslo, 2nds in Eugene & Paris|
|BEKELE Tariku||28.02.1987||ETH||12:52.45||Olympic 10k bronze medalist makes 2014 track debut; only race in ’14 was 7th in Carlsbad 5,000 road race in March (13:45)|
|BETT Emmanuel Kipkemei||30.03.1983||KEN||13:08.35||10k/road specialist drops down for first 5,000 since ’12; 27:21 10k at Pre; 7th in 10k at Kenyan champs|
|BIRMINGHAM Collis||27.12.1984||AUS||13:09.57||13:18.57||Beat Rupp to win Oxy in May; 13:27 at Pre (12th); 3:39 1,500 in Italy on Tuesday|
|BUMBALOUGH Andrew||14.03.1987||USA||13:12.01||13:13.67||Just missed PR in Oslo, looked good to get 2nd behind Lagat at USAs on June 27|
|CHOGE Augustine Kiprono||21.01.1987||KEN||12:53.66||13:14.23||Versatile runner ran 2:24 at Paris Marathon in April; 7:44 3k last time out in Ostrava on June 17|
|GEBREMESKEL Dejen||24.11.1989||ETH||12:46.81||13:09.73||Olympic silver medalist running just second outdoor race of season; 13:09 (7th) in opener in Oslo June 11|
|GEBRHIWET Hagos||11.05.1994||ETH||12:47.53||13:06.88||World silver medalist was just 7th at Pre and only 12th last week in Paris|
|HILL Ryan||31.01.1990||USA||13:14.22||13:14.31||Only 13:57 at Pre but bounced back for 4th at USAs|
|JEILAN Ibrahim||12.06.1989||ETH||13:09.16||13:09.67||2011 World 10k champ was 9th last week in Paris|
|LAGAT Bernard||12.12.1974||USA||12:53.60||13:31.23||Looked to be slowing down at 39 but 7:38 3k and US title in June were good signs|
|LEVINS Cameron||28.03.1989||CAN||13:15.19||13:25.70||Soloed a 13:25 at Canadian champs on June 28; still chasing Canadian record of 13:13.96|
|LONGOSIWA Thomas Pkemei||14.01.1988||KEN||12:49.04||13:01.74||Olympic bronze medalist running 3rd race in a week: 13:01 5k in Paris on Saturday, 7:47 3k in Hungary on Tuesday|
|MEAD Hassan||28.08.1989||USA||13:02.80||13:02.80||13:02 at Stanford and 3rd at USAs|
|MUTAI Vincent Kiprotich||03.11.1994||KEN|
|SOI Edwin Cheruiyot||03.03.1986||KEN||12:51.34||12:59.82||’08 OG bronze medalist ran world leader to win Paris; just 5th in 3k in Hungary on Tuesday|
|ST. LAWRENCE Ben||07.11.1981||AUS||13:10.08||13:27.72||DNF at Pre but soloed a 13:27 in Ireland last week|
What an interesting set of names. The 21-man field includes most of the regulars from the circuit this year. Pre Classic winner Caleb Ndiku is missing, but Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew, who’s been the man to beat in Diamond League races in 2014, will run, as will Olympic bronze medalists and DL regulars Edwin Soi (12:59.82 WL win in Paris on Saturday) and Thomas Longosiwa (13:01.74 in Paris). One out of Alamirew, Soi and Longosiwa will likely be your winner.
But the presence of two Ethiopians — each of whom, like Soi and Longosiwa, owns an Olympic medal — provides some intrigue for this race in Glasgow. First there’s Dejen Gebremeskel, who was brilliant in 2012 (Olympic silver and two DL wins, including a 12:46.81 in Paris, making him #5 all-time). However, after his Olympic silver, Gebremeskel, who is still only 24, switched to the 10k last year and was just 16th at Worlds. He took bronze in the 3k at world indoors this March but has raced just once on the track, a 13:09.73 7th-place effort in Oslo on June 11.
We talked about the struggles of Gebremeskel and his compatriot, Hagos Gebrhiwet, in our Week that Was. It’s probably more fair to classify Gebremeskel as “absent” (since he’s only run one outdoor track race this year), but Gebrhiwet, who is also entered in Glasgow, has gotten slower in every DL 5,000 this year and he’s only 20 years old. With a month of training before Glasgow, can Gebremeskel get back to where he was two years ago and battle for the win against a field in which most of the top guys raced less than a week ago in Paris?
The other interesting Ethiopian name in the field is Tariku Bekele, who took Olympic bronze in the 10k in 2012 and who has yet to race on the track in 2014. Bekele had a down year in 2013, failing to make the Ethiopian team for Worlds after he was just 12th at the selection race, the 10k at the Pre Classic. In October, he ran a couple of mediocre half marathons (63:21 in Lisbon, 64:36 in Birmingham) and since then has raced just once, finishing 7th at the Carlsbad 5,000 on March 30. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to challenge the likes of Alamirew and Soi, but it will be interesting to see where Bekele will finish in a quality field.
The top four finishers from the USAs 5k — Bernard Lagat, Andrew Bumbalough, Hassan Mead and Ryan Hill — are all entered and the race is a great opportunity for Bumbalough and Hill to lower their PRs (13:12 and 13:14, respectively). Poor rabbiting/a reluctance to go with the rabbits has meant that the winning times on the Diamond League haven’t been very fast this year (13:04, 13:01, 13:01, 12:59). That hasn’t been great for fans who want to see fast times, but it works out nicely for guys who are just below world-class such as Bumbalough and Hill, since races go out closer to a pace they’re comfortable with.
Bumbalough told us after USAs that he was in a funk after indoors and that his stride was messed up for much of March and April. His stride was back to normal in May, however, and he has gotten better every time out this year (13:28 at Stanford on May 4, 13:13 in Oslo on June 11, 2nd at USAs on June 27). With a likely winning time in Glasgow of around 13:00, Bumbalough, with his current fitness, should be able to sit in the pack and get dragged along to a PR. It’s a bit harder to get a read on Bumbalough’s Bowerman TC teammate Hill, who has been inconsistent this year (13:14 at Stanford, 13:57 at Pre, 4th at USAs), but if he runs like he did at USAs, Hill definitely has a shot at breaking his PR of 13:14. Mead, who was third at USAs, should finish right around Bumbalough and Hill, but his PR (13:02) is faster and will be tougher to get, especially in a slower race.
Finally, there’s Lagat, who bounced back from a shocking 14th-place finish at Pre to run 7:41 and 7:38 for 3k in Europe and win his seventh U.S. title at 5,000 last month. A slower race would likely help Lagat, who’s one of the best in the world when it comes to positioning and tactics.
So could a man who was over 30 seconds back of the winner at Pre really contend for the win in a Diamond League race? It’s unlikely. Lagat has never won a DL 5,000 and he didn’t win a 5,000 in its predecessor, the Golden League, either. Over the past two years, his DL finishes have been 14th, 2nd, DNF, 13th (1,500) and 5th. That’s not a record that inspires confidence. As he showed at USAs, when he’s on his game, Lagat is still a force to be reckoned with, but this field is a lot stronger than the one he beat in Sacramento. Lagat could hang around, but don’t expect him to contend for the win here.
Discuss this race in our messageboard as many of your fellow fans are pumped about this one: LAGAT, LEVINS, MEAD, SOI, LONGOSIWA, ALAMIREW, ROP, etc. all racing in Glasgow on Friday!
Women’s 3,000 Steeplechase (Saturday, 10:27 a.m. ET)
|ATHLETE||DATE OF BIRTH||NATION||PR||SB||Comment|
|ASSEFA Sofia||14.11.1987||ETH||9:09.00||9:11.39||DL points leader after wins at Pre and in NY; 3rd in Paris on Saturday|
|AYALEW Hiwot||06.03.1990||ETH||9:09.61||9:11.65||Claimed 2nd career DL win by outkicking Coburn in Paris on Saturday|
|BUSH Nicole||04.04.1986||USA||9:34.76||9:34.76||2013 US champ was just 8th at USAs this year; 4:13 1,500 in Belgium on Saturday|
|CHEMOS Milcah||24.02.1986||KEN||9:07.14||9:26.49||Defending world champ was just 8th in Paris but that was by far her best race of the season|
|CHEPKURUI Lidya||23.08.1984||KEN||9:12.55||9:24.07||World silver medalist has improved in every DL race; 6th in Paris in 9:24|
|COBURN Emma||19.10.1990||USA||9:14.12||9:14.12||Dream season keeps getting better; almost claimed DL win #2 in Paris but still PRed by 3+ secs|
|DIRO NEDA Etenesh||10.05.1991||ETH||9:14.07||9:19.71||5th at Worlds last year; 4th in Paris|
|EL OUALI ALAMI Salima||29.12.1983||MAR||9:21.24||9:21.24||30-year-old PRed for 3rd time in ’14 with 9:21 in Paris|
|GARCIA Stephanie||03.05.1988||USA||9:24.35||9:24.35||Like Coburn, keeps PRing and running well; 3rd at USAs, 9:24 PR in Paris|
|GETNET Tigist||07.07.1997||ETH||10:00.2h||10:00.2h||Just turned 17 and beat Diro Neda to win Ethiopian champs last month|
|MCCOLGAN Eilish||25.11.1990||GBR||9:35.82||9:50.06||Scot isn’t running great in 2014 but won British champs and will race here on home soil in Glasgow|
The big story in women’s steepling right now is American Emma Coburn, who has gotten better every time out in 2014. Perhaps more impressive than her accomplishments (the first DL win by an American in Shanghai; a third U.S. title in four years in Sacramento; four of the five fastest times in U.S. history) is the way she’s accomplished it. Coburn expertly judges her own pace and is unafraid to take off when she feels like she can create a gap. She broke away early to win in Shanghai on May 18 and looked at home pushing the pace once the rabbit dropped out at 1k in Paris on Saturday. Coburn was rewarded each time with a PR, and her 9:14.12 in Paris puts her just 1.72 seconds behind training partner Jenny Simpson‘s American record. With a 1st, 3rd and 2nd in her last three DL races, Coburn is now clearly among the best in the world in the event and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her break Simpson’s record in Glasgow.
As Coburn has reached another level, American steepling has improved behind her. It’s hard to say how much of that is due to chasing Coburn, though Ashley Higginson, who was second at USAs, said it is certainly a factor. Higginson ran a 7-second PR of 9:27 in the heat at USAs while the third-placer at USAs, Stephanie Garcia, PRed by four seconds to run 9:24 in Paris (after PRing by 13 seconds earlier this season in New York). Coburn entered 2014 with a PR of 9:23 and if she had stayed at that level, Higginson and Garcia would both be real threats to her right now.
Expect Coburn to again battle Ethiopians Hiwot Ayalew (who outkicked her in Paris) and Sofia Assefa (winner at Pre and NY) for the win in this one.
Men’s 1,500 (Saturday, 11:00 a.m. ET)
|ATHLETE||DATE OF BIRTH||NATION||PR||SB||Comment|
|BIRGEN Bethwell||06.08.1988||KEN||3:30.77||3:31.22||8th in Lausanne on July 3, 9th in Oslo on June 11|
|CHEPSEBA Nixon Kiplimo||12.12.1990||KEN||3:29.77||3:34.64||12th in Lausanne|
|CRONJE Johan||13.04.1982||RSA||3:31.93||3:33.31||WC bronze medalist has yet to finish better than 8th in 4 DL races in ’14|
|FARRELL Thomas||23.03.1991||GBR||3:41.07||3:41.43||Former Oklahoma St. star won British 5k title last month|
|GRICE Charlie||07.11.1993||GBR||3:36.31||3:36.31||UK champ is just 20 years old|
|HEATH Garrett||03.11.1985||USA||3:34.12||3:35.97||9th at USAs; 3:35 in Belgium on Saturday|
|HOLUŠA Jakub||20.02.1988||CZE||3:35.26||3:35.26||Won Euro Team Champs 1,500 on June 21; 3:36 in France on Tuesday|
|IGUIDER Abdelaati||25.03.1987||MAR||3:31.47||3:32.09||Olympic bronze medalist was 5th in Lausanne|
|KIPLAGAT Silas||20.08.1989||KEN||3:29.27||3:29.70||Always good on the circuit; 2nd in Lausanne, 1st in Rome in last two races|
|MANZANO Leonel||12.09.1984||USA||3:32.37||3:38.63||U.S. champ ran 1:46.32 800 for second in Belgium on Saturday|
|O’HARE Chris||23.11.1990||GBR||3:35.37||3:42.55||WC finalist and former NCAA champ has struggled in ’14|
|TORRENCE David||26.11.1985||USA||3:33.23||Failed to make 1,500 final at USAs but bounced back for 5th in 5k|
This is a non-DL event and so it’s not as deep as typical 1,500 on the circuit, but with 2011 world silver medalist Silas Kiplagat, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Abdelaati Iguider, 2013 Worlds bronze medalist Johan Cronje and 3:30 man Bethwell Birgen, there’s some talent at the top of the field. Americans Garrett Heath, Leo Manzano and David Torrence are all entered as well and this is a good opportunity for them to run season’s bests. Heath ran 3:35 in Belgium last week, but this will be the first 1,500 of the season for Manzano and Torrence (not counting USAs). Manzano said after USAs that he’s trying to break 3:32 this year (his PR is 3:32.37 from 2010).
Men’s 800 (Saturday, 11:37 a.m. ET)
|ATHLETE||DATE OF BIRTH||NATION||PR||SB||Comment|
|CENTROWITZ Matthew||18.10.1989||USA||1:45.86||First DL 800; 7th in Lausanne 1,500 on July 3|
|KINYOR Job||08.05.1990||KEN||1:43.76||1:44.6h||Won in Hungary on Tuesday; won International 800 at Pre in 1:44.70|
|MOHAMMED Mukhtar||01.12.1990||GBR||1:45.67||1:46.74||2nd at British champs; 3rd at Euro indoor champs last year|
|MUTAI Jeremiah Kipkorir||27.12.1992||KEN||1:43.9h||1:44.85||6th in Hungary on Tuesday; earlier this year on DL was 4th in Shanghai + 5th in Doha|
|OLIVIER Andre||29.12.1989||RSA||1:44.29||1:44.42||Ran SB for 6th in Paris on Saturday|
|RIMMER Michael||03.02.1986||GBR||1:43.89||1:46.75||British champ was only 10th in NY|
|RUDISHA David||17.12.1988||KEN||1:40.91||1:44.63||WR holder/Olympic champ was only 7th at Pre but won in NY on June 14|
|SOWINSKI Erik||21.12.1989||USA||1:44.58||1:44.58||7th in Hungary on Tuesday; 3rd at USAs after fall separated him from leaders|
|VÁZQUEZ Wesley||27.03.1994||PUR||1:44.64||1:44.64||20-year-old was 6th in NY; won an 800 in France on Monday in 1:45.65|
David Rudisha is always going to be the highlight of any field that he is in, and Saturday’s 800 in Glasgow is no exception. But we’re a bit disappointed because, for the second meet in a row, Rudisha won’t be facing the top guys in the world. Right now, Mo Aman and Nijel Amos are the top two 800 runners on the planet and ever since they ran away from Rudisha at Pre on May 31, the question has been whether Rudisha can reclaim his throne as the world’s best. Unfortunately, Glasgow, like Rudisha’s win in New York four weeks ago, probably won’t answer that question.
That’s because, aside from Rudisha, this isn’t a great field for a DL race. In terms of SBs, the fastest guy in the field, Andre Olivier, is just 11th in the world this year. There’s no Amos (raced last week in Paris), no Aman (hasn’t raced since June 17), not even Abubaker Kaki, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse or Duane Solomon. If Rudisha wins as expected, we won’t know much about his current fitness level unless he runs a really fast time.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long for answers. Rudisha, Aman and Amos are all entered in a loaded 800 in Monaco next week and the outcome of that race will tell us a lot about the current state of the men’s 800. Until then, we wait.
One other note: it’s incredible the amount of talent Kenya has in the men’s 800 right now. Kenya has eight of the top 25 runners on this year’s descending order list. Poland and the USA have two each, and no other country has more than one. Those eight Kenyans include a 17-year-old, an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old; at 25, Rudisha is the oldest of the group. In most events, you’ll see several countries with a bunch of guys in the top 25 — the U.S. and Jamaica in the sprints, Kenya and Ethiopia in the distances. In the 800, the crossover event between sprints and distance, Kenya is the only country that can call itself a true global power.
Women’s 800 (Saturday, 11:50a.m. ET)
|ATHLETE||DATE OF BIRTH||NATION||PR||SB||Comment|
|ALMANZA Rose Mary||13.07.1992||CUB||1:59.4h||1:59.48||SB in France on June 27|
|JUDD Jessica||07.01.1995||GBR||1:59.77||1:59.77||19-year-old World Junior silver medalist PRed for 3rd in Oslo but just 4th at British champs|
|KAMPF Heather||19.01.1987||USA||2:00.04||2:00.65||6th in 1,500 at USAs; won 800 in Ireland on Tuesday in 2:01.25|
|MASNÁ Lenka||22.04.1985||CZE||1:59.56||1:59.93||8th at Worlds last year and 1:59 in Ostrava but just 8th at Euro Team champs on June 21|
|MEADOWS Jennifer||17.04.1981||GBR||1:57.93||2:00.51||2009 world bronze medalist hasn’t broken 2:00 since 2011; 3rd at British champs|
|MUIR Laura||09.05.1993||GBR||2:00.80||2:03.83||Student at U. of Glasgow was 2nd at British champs in 1,500; 4:00.07 in Paris 1,500|
|SHARP Lynsey||11.07.1990||GBR||1:59.67||1:59.67||2012 Euro champ won British champs in June; 5th in Lausanne|
|WALLACE Lea||19.12.1988||USA||2:00.30||2:03.98||Didn’t make final at USAs; 4:13 1,500 in France on Monday|
|WILSON Ajee’||08.05.1994||USA||1:58.21||1:58.70||U.S. champ is in great form: 2nd in Oslo, 3rd in Rome|
Like the men’s 800, the women’s 800 isn’t particularly strong in Glasgow, but it also isn’t an official Diamond League event (the men’s 800 is). The favorite is clearly American Ajee’ Wilson, who looked very good winning USAs two weeks ago in 1:58.70. That puts her #4 on the world list right now and if this was a Worlds year, she’d have a very good shot at a medal. Kenya’s Eunice Sum has been unbeatable in the 800 this year, but Wilson has a strong case as the #2 runner in the world right now. Wilson has run eight races this year and won six; of the two she’s lost, she was second (behind Sum) and third (behind Sum and Cuban Sahily Diago Mesa).
As it is for the men, the women’s 800 in Monaco should be a better race (Sum vs. Yekaterina Poistogova, Wilson and Americans Brenda Martinez and Laura Roesler) than Glasgow, though the hometown fans will enjoy this one as it includes five Brits. Aside from Cuban Rose Mary Almanza, the Brits are the best bets to challenge Wilson. Jessica Judd has been a rival of Wilson’s ever since Wilson edged her out by .05 seconds to win World Juniors in 2012, and Judd was just .09 behind Wilson when they last raced in Oslo on June 11. Theirs will be an interesting rivalry as the two continue to develop (Judd is eight months younger than Wilson). The other Brit to watch is Lynsey Sharp, who turns 24 on Friday. She was the European champ in 2012, beat Judd to win the British champs last month and was 5th in Lausanne last week. Wilson is still the favorite, but Judd or Sharp will get a big boost from the crowd if they’re close in the last 100 as this is the final event of the meet.