Team Kenya arrived Monday in high spirits, four days before global fiesta

Thursday, August 13th, 2020 00:00 | By
Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon will compete in the 1,000m race in Monaco. PHOTO/World Athletics.
Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon will compete in the 1,000m race in Monaco. Photo/PD/FILE

A titanic battle is expected when elite athletes line up in Monaco for the first leg of the Wanda Diamond League tomorrow.

 Team Kenya arrived in Monaco on Monday morning in high spirits, four days before the international bonanza hits the road.

 A contingent of 12 athletes and Athletics Kenya officials led by head coach Bernard Ouma left Nairobi on Sunday morning aboard Turkish Airlines and made a stop over in Istanbul for a connecting flight to Monaco the following day.

 Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon and world 1,500 champion Timothy Cheruiyot will compete in 1,000m and 1,500m respectively.

 Kipyegon who will not feature in her specialist event at her Monaco debut will face world 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi and European 1,500m champion Laura Muir.

 For Cheruiyot, Monaco is a happy hunting ground after he set his personal best of three minutes and 28.41 seconds there in 2018 and went back to retain the title in 2019.

 This time he will face a challenge from European champions, brothers Jacob and Filip Ingebrigtsen, whose team beat Team Cheruiyot in the virtual Impossible Games earlier in June. 

During the race that was held concurrently in the Nairobi and Oslo, the youngest of the Ingebrigtsen brothers, Jacob, emerged victorious clocking a time of 4: 50.01 in the specialised 2,000m race, while Cheruiyot under tough weather conditions and a high altitude crossed the finish line in a time of 5:03.05. 

Meanwhile, Kipyegon will team up with Beatrice Chepkoech, the 3,000m steeplechase Olympic Champion, and 1,500m African champion Winnie Chebet.

 The trio will face competition from 10,000m world champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen who bagged bronze in the Doha during the World Athletics Championships last year.

 World champion Hellen Obiri will lead a star-studded field in the women’s 5000m race.

 The men’s 5,000m race will also be one to watch out for as once again world champion Joshua Cheptegei and silver medalist Yomif Kejelcha battle it out.

The other of the Ingebrigtsen brothers, Henry, is also featuring in the starting line-up.

 In 3,000m steeplechase, world Under-20 silver medallist Leonard Bett will be flying Kenya’s flag.

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