World Indoor Championships Istanbul 2012: Men’s Events Preview
Istambul, Turkey -Ã‚Â Ã‚Â The 2012Ã‚Â IAAF World Indoor Championships will kick off here on Friday, and here is the preview of the men’s events.
In 2008, Abubaker Kaki of the Sudan was the youngest-ever winner of a world indoor title when he won this race; in 2010, he made it back-to-back wins.
Kaki will not be seeking an unprecedented third consecutive title in Istanbul, but Doha 2010 second, third and fourthÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Boaz Lalang (Kenya), Adam Kszczot (Poland) and Ismail Ismail (Sudan) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ are all back. The Pole heads the annual list at 1:44.57 in Lievin and must stand a great chance of moving to the top of the medal dais.
Ismail does not have much recent form to recommend, but as silver medallist from Beijing 2008 he must be respected.
Mohammed Aman, the Ethiopian teen who ended David RudishaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s two-season winning streak at the end of last year, finished fifth in that race, but in a bizarre twist, set his best time of 1:45.40 in winning in Birmingham with Kszczot in fifth place.
Marcin Lewandowski (Poland) was second in Birmingham, with Lalang third, so the form line is nothing if not inconsistent. Any of these four could win if they produce their best on the day.
Timothy Kitum, second in Lievin, is KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s other entrant and along with BritainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Joe Thomas and Andrew Osagie could also come into the reckoning.
Can Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco go one better than last time and progress from silver to gold? He heads the world list (3:34.10) and defeated two of his strongest opponents to win in Lievin.
Second-placed Ilham Ozbilen Tanui, the former William Biwott Tanui of Kenya, was second in that race and now represents Turkey. Silas Kiplagat, third in Lievin, was silver medallist at last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s World Championships in Daegu and fastest in the world in 2010.
Matt Centrowitz, the surprise bronze medallist in Daegu, lost the US title to Leonel Manzano in a big kick finish, but has the third-fastest indoor mile of 2012. Manzano will not be in Istanbul, with Galen Rupp the second US representative.
Iguider, too, has strong back-up with another Daegu finalist, Amine Laalou, also representing Morocco. Ciaran OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Lionaird of Ireland, another Daegu finalist, has moved to the US to train with Alberto Salazar. This will be the biggest international test of his improvement.
EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mekonne Gebremedhin and Spanish pair, Francisco Javier Abad and David Bustos, are other who could come into the reckoning.
If the race is slow, as championship 1500s often are, position will be everything in the final two or three laps.
If there is a better tactician going round than Bernard Lagat, you wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be running the closing stages of a race against him.
At 37, Lagat shows few signs of diminishing powers, not in the US championships anyway, when he kicked away from Lopez Lomong and Galen Rupp in the closing stages.
But he will need to be at his best to retain his title as the 3000m draws together one of the strongest fields at Istanbul 2012. KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi sit atop the 2012 list at 7:29.94, the only men to have broken 7:30 this season.
Mo Farah suffered a rare loss over two miles in Birmingham recently, but the man who beat him, Eliud Kipchoge, will not be in Istanbul where Farah can be expected to be back in peak form. World champion at 5000m last year, he stands a great chance of adding another global title here.
EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Yenew Alamirew burst onto the scene with 7:27 both indoors and outdoors last season. He has not been as impressive since, but was third behind Choge and Soi in Karlsruhe. Dejen Gebrmeskel gives Ethiopia a strong back-up challenger.
UgandaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Moses Kipsiro, AustraliaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Craig Mottram and BahrainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Asian indoor champion Bilisuma Shugi are others who could make a bold showing.
But if Bernard Lagat remains in a winning position with two laps to go, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bet against him.