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Moh Ahmed to headline Diamond League action in Rome

Everything you need to know before the Rome Diamond League meet on Thursday afternoon

Photo by: Kevin Morris

The Diamond League takes to Rome on Thursday afternoon, and 10 reigning individual Olympic champions from Tokyo are featured in the field. Olympic silver medallist and 5,000m Canadian record holder Mohammed Ahmed will make his second appearance of the season on the Diamond League circuit, after finishing fourth in the 5,000m at the Prefontaine Classic.

Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed leads the 5,000m at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic. Photo: Kevin Morris

The other Canadian in the meet is Lindsey Butterworth, who returns to the Diamond League circuit three weeks after clocking 2:01.20 in Birmingham, U.K.

Men’s 5,000m

An Olympic champion, a silver medallist, a world champion and a world record-holder will all clash in the men’s 5,000m on Thursday. Ethiopia’s 10,000m gold medallist in Tokyo, Selemon Barega, goes up against his compatriot, Muktar Edris, the two-time world 5,000m champion, and Berihu Aregawi, who set the world 5K road record of 12:49 in Barcelona in December.

Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia runs a world lead of 12:50 over 5,000m at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic. Photo: Kevin Morris

Canada’s Ahmed hasn’t raced much after his Canadian record-setting 10,000m performance earlier this spring. He will also have to deal with the likes of two-time world indoor champion Yomif Kejelcha and Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa, who recently claimed a 10,000m win in London in 27:16.18.

This 5,000m field in Rome is among the strongest we’ve seen this year, and fans will likely see a sub-13 minute time to win it.

The men’s 5,000m will go off at 3:15 p.m. E.T.

Women’s 800m

American middle-distance phenom and record holder Athing Mu makes her Diamond League season debut over the distance she won Olympic gold in last summer. Mu has had a quiet start to the 2022 outdoor season, opening up in 2:02.07 at the Michael Johnson Invitational in Texas in late April. It is relatively unknown what sort of form Mu is in, but it’s hard to turn your back on her world-class talent. Mu ran 1:55.04 at the 2021 Prefontaine Classic last August and had a season to remember, becoming only the second American woman ever to break 1:56.

Lindsey Butterworth in the 800m at the 2021 FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands

Thursday’s race is guaranteed to be fast, with Mu coming in as the favourite. This could fare well for Canada’s Butterworth, who continues to chase the world championship standard of 1:59.50.

The women’s 800m is scheduled to start at 2:40 p.m. E.T.

Women’s 200m

The field in the women’s 200m is comparable to what you’d see in an Olympic final or semi. It contains five of the 20 fastest women ever in the discipline, including Olympic 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and 2019 world champion Dina Asher-Smith. The talent doesn’t stop there, with the 400m Olympic champion, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, dropping down to half the distance to compete against the world’s best. Seven-time Olympic gold medallist U.S. Allyson Felix and Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica also can’t be ignored, as they look to upset the favourites in Rome.

2021 Prefontaine Classic: Elaine Thompson-Herah wins the 100m. Photo: Pat Holleran/Shannon Digital Imaging

Thompson-Herah will be the heavy favourite heading into the race, with nine race wins in her last nine starts.

The women’s 200m is scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. E.T.

Canadians in the field

Canada’s Django Lovett and Christabel Nettey will be representing Canada in the field events in Rome. Lovett has a first and third-place finish in his two previous Diamond League meets, while Nettey returns to DL competition in the long jump for the first time since 2019.

How to watch

Canadians can catch all of the Diamond League Rome action on CBC Sports. Live coverage begins Thursday at 2 p.m. E.T.