Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pre classic preview

The Register Guard reports
A world-record assault in the 1,000 meters has been planned by two-time world indoor 800-meter champion Abubaker Kaki of Sudan at the 36th annual Prefontaine Classic on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Kaki decided he was fit enough to take aim at the world 1,000 record — 2 minutes, 11.96 seconds by Kenya’s Noah Ngeny in 1999 — after setting a personal best of 1:42.23 in the 800 at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway on June 4.

“If anybody has a chance, it’s Kaki,” said his coach, Ibrahim Aden. “Once he ran 1:42, we realized he’s in better shape than we thought, and he’s going to go for it. He will be blazing from the very start.”

This will be Kaki’s first appearance at Hayward Field and his first competition in the U.S. He’s been working out at the Nike campus in Beaverton for the past few days.

“This is his first time in the U.S. and he loves it so far. He might just stay and join the group in Portland,” Aden joked.

Kaki, who claimed world indoor 800 titles in 2008 and ’10, will be matched against a field that features Oregon Track Club Elite’s Nick Symmonds, a three-time U.S. champion in the 800, and 2008 Olympic 800 bronze medalist Alfred Yego of Kenya.

The other runners will be Ryan Brown, Boaz Lalang and Jacob Hernandez.

“If anybody goes with him, no problem,” Aden said of Kaki. “He’s only worried about time.”

Pre Classic meet director Tom Jordan said he never promotes world-record attempts unless the athlete is willing to say it publicly. Kaki was originally scheduled to run the 800, but once his wishes became known in the 1,000, the event was changed.

“We changed the event for Kaki,” Jordan said. “That’s why we set this up.”

Jordan has lined up two pacesetters for the world-record attempt.

OTC Elite’s Matt Scherer, the 2006 Pac-10 400 champion at Oregon, will be asked to take the field through 600 meters in 1:18, and four-time U.S. outdoor 800 champion Khadevis Robinson will try to hit the 1:45 mark through 800 meters.

“The pace maker has to be perfect in order to break the world record,” said Aden, who was also hoping for no wind and warm weather.

“They have to do their job exactly.”

There are two other marks to keep in mind — the U.S. record of 2:13.9 was set by Rick Wohlhuter in 1974, and the Hayward Field record of 2:14.54 was established by former UO standout Joaquim Cruz at the 1984 Pre Classic.

Symmonds has his sights set on a PR.

“I haven’t run one in a couple of years,” he said. “My PR is 2:17.3, I believe. I’d like to go out and try and set a nice PR. ... It will be a great field. If I can feel easy coming through in 1:48 or 1:49, I’d be pretty happy.”

Universalsports preview:

Men's Mile: Seven of the Top 10-ranked runners from 2009 have been assembled for the Bowerman Mile, led by Beijing Olympic gold medalist Asbel Kiprop and Berlin World champion Youssef Saad Kamel of Bahrain. The U.S. contingent will be led by 2007 World gold medalist and 5000m American record holder Bernard Lagat, who will be joined by his 2008 Olympic teammates Lopez Lomong, the 2010 national champion at 1500m, and Leo Manzano.

Men's 5000m: There has never been a sub-13-minute time run on American soil. With 10 runners in the field that have broken that barrier either this year or last year, history could be made at Hayward Field. The African runners figure to be at the front of the field, especially Ethiopian Imane Merga, the Diamond League points leader, and Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who has run a world-leading 12:51.21 this season. The Eugene crowd will throw all of its support behind Oregon Track Club teammates Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp. Solinsky has already set the American record in the 10,000m and run 12:56 in the 5000m this year. Tegenkamp is the 2009 5000m U.S. champion and will be running his first race of the year at that distance.