Rio 2016 Olympics : Medal Contenders In The Men's 10,000 Metres And 5,000 Metres Running Events
Introducing the long-distance runners aiming for success at Rio 2016.
For elite-level runners, competing in the Olympics, it doesn't get much better than standing on a podium with a gold medal round the neck; watching as your country's flag goes up the pole, and your national anthem blares out loud and proud. Many ahletes will be dreaming about nothing but this between now and the beginning of Rio 2016.
This summer will see runners from all over the world descend on Rio De Janeiro, in Brazil, to pit themselves against one another in a bid to be Olympic Champion. A handful of these athletes will finish the 2016 Olympics with smiles etched upon their faces, and medals in their hands, while countless others will leave empty handed and with disappointment in their hearts.
In a bid to separate the true contenders from the also-rans, we've put together this handy guide to the Rio 2016 runners who have a genuine chance of Olympic glory in the men's 10,000m and 5,000m this summer. We'll also be discussing the British challenge (Mo Farah), and assessing his chances of adding to his impressive Olympic medal collection in Brazil.
Rio 2016 - 10,000 Metres/5,000 Metres (Men)
With the shadow of numerous doping bans still hanging over Kenyan athletics, questions about whether Mo Farah has got what it takes to repeat his remarkable gold medal success from London 2012 (in the 10,000 metres and 5,000 metres respectively), and American Galen Rupp seemingly gravitating towards marathon running the long-distance track events at Rio 2016 promise to throw up a whole heap of Olympic intrigue.
Contenders - 10,000 Metres (Men)
Paul Tanui - Kenya
Kenya have a great record when it comes to producing successful long-distance runners, and Paul Tanui is one such Kenyan runner who will hoping to bag himself a gold medal this summer. Tanui's time of 27: 22.28 is the fastest time of 2016 so far. He won a bronze medal at the World Athletics Championships in 2015.
Tanui's personal best for the 10,000 metres event is an impressive 26:49.41 (2014). His numbers on the track means he should be a real contender at this summer's Olympics.
Bedan Karoki Muchiri - Kenya
Another Kenyan. Another man with his eye on Olympic success this summer. Bedan Karoki's personal best in the 10,000 metres is 26:52.36. If he could replicate that sort of speed this summer, it would put him right in the Rio medal mix.
Karoki competed for Kenya in the 2015 World Athletics Championship, and narrowly missed out on a podium finish when he finished in fourth behind two of his countrymen (Tanui - 3rd, Kamworor - 2nd) and Mo Farah - 1st.
Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor - Kenya
Yes. We're talking about Kenyans a lot but that's only because so many of them are in with a shout at winning gold in the 10,000 metres this summer. Geoffrey Kamworor is another elite-level runner who will be representing Kenya at Rio 2012, and he's another one who should be in and amongst the medal contenders when the finishing line comes into sight.
Kamworor's personal best for the 10,000 metres is 26:52.65, which he set in 2015. At the World Athletics Championships last year, Kamworor finished less than a second behind the winner Mo Farah and took home the silver medal. You can expect him to be breathing down Farah's neck this summer, and putting in a challenge for Olympic gold.
Mo Farah - Great Britain
British long-distance runner Mo Farah (aka "The Mo-Bot") achieved sporting immortality at London 2012 when he scooped the gold medal in both the 10,000 metres and the 5,000 metres. Four years on, he'll be looking to repeat the feat at the Rio Olympics.
Farah will be up against it with some seriously strong competition coming from the African contingent, but don't bet against Mo. He won the 10,000 and 5,000 metres double at the Beijing 2015 World Athletic Championships, and is a true master of long-distance running. Technically speaking, Farah is one of the best athletes in the world. Watch out Kenya!
Ali Kaya - Turkey
Born Stanley Kiprotich Mukche on April the 20th, 1994, in Kenya; this long-distance runner moved to Turkey in 2010 and adopted the Turkish name Ali Kaya. In 2013, he was eligible to represent Turkey in international competitions and has done so ever since.
While not an out-and-out favourite for a gold medal in Rio, Kaya has enough talent to maybe throw up a surprise and stick a spanner in the works of the more established favourites. At the European Championships 2014, in Zurich, Kaya became the youngest medalist ever in a European 10,000m final (he won bronze). He was also one of only four runners to reach both the 10,000m and 5,000m finals at the 2015 World Championships (7th - 10,000m, 9th - 5,000m).
Contenders - 5,000 Metres (Men)
Caleb Ndiku - Kenya
Caleb Ndiku is another Kenyan who will be desperate to knock Mo Farah off his perch this summer, and win himself an Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016. Ndiku chucked the gauntlet down to Farah at the World Athletic Championships in Beijing last year, when he said that Mo Farah is "beatable" and is vulnerable "tactically."
Farah triumphed over Ndiku in the 5,000 metres at the World Athletics Championships, but not by much (Farah - 13:50.38, compared to Ndiku's 13:51.75). Ndiku, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, will be hoping to finish in first place in Rio De Janeiro this summer.
Yomif Kejelcha - Ethiopia
Yomif Kejelcha may only be 18 years old (he'll have just turned 19 by the start of the Rio 2016 Olympics), but what Kejelcha lacks in years-on-the-clock he more than makes up for in talent over 5,000 metres.
Ethiopia, of course, have a great record in producing long-distance runners and Kejelcha certainly has the potential to put his name in the sporting history books alongside legendary compatriot Haile Gebrselassie.
Hagos Gebrhiwet - Ethiopia
Speaking of Ethiopians, Hagos Gebrhiwet is another East African who will be dreaming of Olympic glory between now and the start of Rio 2016.
Gebrhiwet won the silver medal at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow, and bronze in Beijing at the 2015 World Athletics Championships. Keep an eye on him this time out, as he might just challenge for a gold medal in Rio De Janeiro.
Dejen Gebremeskel - Ethiopia
Dejen Gebremeskel won a silver medal at London 2012, finishing just behind Team GB's Mo Farah. His personal best of 12:46.81 for the 5,000 metres is officially the fifth fastest of all time for this particular distance.
Gebremeskel is a real force to be reckoned with on the track, and will offer Ethiopia a great chance of gold-medal success at Rio 2016. If he runs a perfect race, Gebremeskel will be hard to beat this summer.
Isiah Kiplangat Koech - Kenya
Isiah Kiplangat Koech is another long-distance runner who will fancy his chances of getting on the podium in Rio this summer. Koech won gold at the 2009 World Youth Championships, and bronze at the 2013 World Athletic Championships in Moscow.
His personal best of 12:48.64, which he achieved in Paris just before the London Olympics in 2012, is officially the eighth fastest time in the history of 5,000 metres. If Koech can replicate this kind of form in Rio, he'll be a genuine contender for medal success.
Mo Farah - Great Britain
Just in case you'd forgotten, Mo Farah will also be a contender in the 5,000 metres at the Rio Olympics. We've already discussed Farah in our list of 10,000 metre contenders, so we'll keep this short and sweet. Mo Farah = Contender in 10,000m AND 5,000m.