• Curtis Anderson

OTC Elite eyes Payton Jordan, Diamond League opener in Doha

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon Track Club Elite will have a strong presence at two high-powered meets this week – the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University and the 2019 Diamond League opener in Doha, Qatar.

Nijel Amos and Francine Niyonsaba are both entered in the 800m in Doha on Friday, while Ben Blankenship, Hassan Mead, Hanna Green and Tom Farrell are scheduled to compete in the Payton Jordan meet on Thursday.

Niyonsaba, a two-time Olympian from Burundi, is the reigning two-time World Indoor champion in the 800m. In Doha, she will be challenged by a world-class field, including U.S. record-holder Ajee’ Wilson and former Duck standout Raevyn Rogers. Niyonsaba was ranked second in the world in the 800m by Track & Field News in 2018.

Amos, who hails from Botswana, also faces a stellar cast in Doha, led by the Kenyan duo of Emmanuel Korir and Wycliffe Kinyamal, ranked first and second, respectively, in the 800m last season. Amos earned the world’s No. 3 ranking after winning the 2018 African Championship and clocking 1:42.14 to win the 800m in Monaco.

At Stanford, Blankenship and Farrell are both entered in the 5,000m; Mead is expected to compete in the 10,000m; and Green makes her outdoor season 800m debut.

Blankenship, a 2016 Olympic finalist in the 1,500m, hasn’t competed in the 5,000m in five years, while Farrell represented Great Britain in that race at the 2016 Olympics.

Mead, the 2017 U.S. champion in the 10,000m, will test his fitness over 25 laps in a stacked field of 38 entrants. The 2016 Olympian established his 10,000m PR of 27:32.49 in 2017, and didn’t compete at that distance last year.

Green, a second-year pro out of Virginia Tech, is coming off a PR performance of 4:09.33 in the 1,500m at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif., two weeks ago. She set her 800m PR of 2:00.09 with a seventh-place finish at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Elsewhere, Drew Piazza placed fifth in the 800m with a time of 1:49.16 in his outdoor season opener at the IAAF World Challenge in Brazil on April 28. Sabrina Southerland won her heat of the 400m with a PR of 56.05 at the Oregon State High Performance meet on April 27.