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Weekend athletics: Omanyala, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Mary Moraa among Kenyans to star in LA and Marrakech

Friday, May 17th, 2024 17:55 | By
Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/AFP
Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/AFP

A mouthwatering weekend is on the cards for athletics fanatics, promising a mix of sprint and distance running with action spread across three cities.

First up is the USATF LA Grand Prix which starts on Friday all through to Saturday, the Atlanta City Games on Saturday before wrapping up with the Diamond League which makes a stop in Marrakech, Morocco.

Atlanta ‘Street Meet’

Sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala reacts during a past press conference. PHOTO/Sport Picha
Sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala reacts during a past press conference. PHOTO/Sport Picha

African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala is pitted against some of the world’s finest sprinters sponsored by Adidas in the men’s 100 metres. Omanyala who came seventh at the World Championships in Budapest last year will come up against reigning US champion Cravont Charleston and 200 metres champion Erriyon Knighton at the makeshift track at Piedmont Park.

Sensational Noah Lyles will line up in the 150-metre category, up against South African and former African holder Akani Simbine who is fresh off a win at the Suzhou Diamond League and Zharnel Hughes, a world 100-metre bronze medalist.

LA Grand Prix

Mary Moraa celebrates at the Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/World Athletics
Mary Moraa celebrates at the Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/World Athletics

The women’s 400 will probably be one of the most tightly contested races, with world 800-metre champion Mary Moraa coming up against world 400-metre champion Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic and American Olympic 800-metre champion Athing Mu.

Moraa, who is the Commonwealth and African champion, has already done seven 400-metre races this season and will face stiff competition from Paulino who has two Diamond Leagues to her name this season.

19-year-old Reynold Cheruiyot, both world and African U20 champion will be in action in the men’s 1500 metres as he continues to bolster an already impressive resume.

A rising star in Botswana’s Lestile Tebogo will run his first 100 metres of the year as he looks to strap off Africa’s fastest-man title from Omanyala.

Marrakech Diamond League

Kenyan middle races champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi celebrates after winning a race in a past championship. PHOTO/PRINT
Kenyan middle races champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi celebrates after winning a race in a past championship. PHOTO/Print

Prodigy Emmanuel Wanyonyi will headline the men’s 800 metres, a race that will also feature a returning Emmanuel Korir.

Wanyonyi, last year’s Diamond League final winner has been on perfect form this year this year with a world record in the road mile last month in Germany and will be the favourite ahead of Korir in the absence of world 800-metre champion Marco Arop.

Olympic and four-time Diamond League champion Conseslus Kipruto will lead fellow Kenyan Abraham Kibiwot in the 3,000-metre steeplechase; in a field consisting of Ethiopians Samuel Fiweru and Getnet Wale with the biggest threat coming from Morocco’s El Bakkali who has not lost a steeplechase race since September 2021.

Quite some action before attention shifts to the Prefontaine Classic next week.

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