Faith Chepngetich, Sifan Hassan and Yomif Kejelcha are among the stars signed up for a middle and long distance meeting today at FBK Stadium in the Dutch city of Hengelo.
Organised by Global Sports Communication (GSC), the meeting will provide a select group of world class athletes with an opportunity to compete once more at the end of a season that was heavily restricted by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The programme will feature three events: 1,000m and 10,000m races for women and a 5,000m race for men.
The women’s 1,000m features Olympic 1,500m champion Chepngetich who will mount another assault on world record which barely eluded her in Monaco earlier this summer.
The Kenyan’s sparkling 2:29.15 run at the Stade Louis II in Monaco put her second on the all-time list, just 0.17 seconds shy Svetlana Masterkova’s world record which has stood for 24 years.
Hasan, the reigning world 1,500m and 10,000m champion, will contest the longer the distance, taking on Ethiopian rising star Tsehay Gemechu.
Hassan, who broke the world record for the one-hour run in Brussels in August, is looking for one last track outing before her attempt to add another world title to her collection at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 on October 17.
In the men’s 5,000m the focus will fall on Ethiopia’s world 10,000m silver medallist Yomif Kejelcha who’ll face in-form Australian Stewart McSweyn.
“Our athletes were not done with the season yet,” said GSC event manager Ellen van Langen.
Hans Kloosterman, meeting director for the FBK Games, added: “Next year we celebrate the 40th edition of the FBK Games. We expect Covid-19 will still play a role by then. It is great to have the opportunity to organise a professional race within Covid-19 restrictions.”
The Wavelight electronic pace-setter will be used to help guide the athletes. Current pandemic restrictions will prohibit spectators, but a broadcast of the meeting will be available via livestream. The link will be announced in the lead-in to the race.
Meanwhile, next year’s Tokyo marathon has been postponed until after the delayed 2020 Olympics, organisers said yesterday, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact sporting events across the world.
The race was originally set to take place on March 7 and include around 38,000 runners, including top athletes.
But with restricted entry into the country and rules around big events, it is now being pushed back to October 17 “due to various restrictions related to the new coronavirus,” a spokesman for the Tokyo Marathon Foundation told AFP.
Marathons worldwide were cancelled or severely scaled back this year as the deadly new disease spread.