Kenya’s speedsters aim to capture glory in the heart of Latvia

Thursday, September 28th, 2023 01:30 | By
Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli. PHOTO/Procam International

Kenyan athletes are poised to make their mark in both the men’s and women’s 5km races in the upcoming World Athletics Road Running Championships (WRRC Riga 23) in Riga scheduled to take place from September 30 to October 1.

The Kenyan contingent boasts a lineup of exceptional talent, ready to take on the world’s best, with Nicholas Kipkorir leading the men’s charge whereas Beatrice Chebet will lead the women’s.

As the fourth-fastest 5km runner in history, Kipkorir’s blistering 12:55 performance last year was a testament to his speed. He has a history of going toe-to-toe with the best, having finished second in a race won by Yomif Kejelcha, who is also competing in Riga. Their previous showdown promises a worthwhile rematch.

Joining Kipkorir is Stanley Waithaka Mburu, the 2022 world 10,000m silver medallist, and Cornelius Kemboi. With such a strong Kenyan trio, they’ll be looking to outpace their competitors and claim victory for their nation.

On the other hand, Beatrice Chebet is a force to be reckoned with too, and an athlete to watch out for in the forthcoming assignment. After becoming the world cross-country champion earlier this year, she’s set her sights on adding another out-of-stadium title to her collection. Chebet’s impressive track record includes a recent second-place finish in a race where a world record was needed to beat her.

Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, a 2017 world cross-country bronze medallist, is another Kenyan contender. She recently secured victory in the 5000m at the Brussels Diamond League and holds a personal best of 14:23.05. Rengeruk’s speed and competitive spirit make her a formidable presence on the starting line.

Peruth Chemutai, known for her excellence in the 3000m steeplechase, brings a unique dynamic to the Kenyan squad. Having previously defeated Chebet in a cross-country race, Chemutai’s versatility will be on full display as she transitions to the road.

Joy Cheptoyek and Prisca Chesang, both bronze medallists at the World U20 Championships, add depth to the Kenyan roster, ensuring a formidable team presence.

In Riga, these Kenyan athletes will face stiff competition from a global field of Olympic and world medallists including Berihu Aregawi (men’s), who, not only has a superior road PB, having broken the world record with his 12:49 run at the Cursa dels Nassos in Barcelona in 2021, but he also has the quickest track PB among the entries – his 12:40.45 from Lausanne in June placing him fifth on the world 5000m all-time list, Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye, the mixed-race world record-holder who ran 14:19 in Barcelona on the final day of 2021, at the same event at which Berihu Aregawi set his world record among others. 

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