Diamond League: Wanyonyi to lead Kenya’s team in quest for Marrakesh glory

Saturday, May 18th, 2024 15:48 | By
Emmanuel Wanyonyi and Jacob Krop in World Athletics Championship action in Budapest, China. PHOTO/World Athletics.
Emmanuel Wanyonyi and Jacob Krop in World Athletics Championship action in Budapest, Austria. PHOTO/World Athletics.

Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Wycliffe Kinyamal, and Emmanuel Korir will clash in the Diamond League's 800m race in Morocco on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

Olympic champion Korir will be getting his 2024 campaign underway in the men’s 800m and will take on his teammates, who are equally ambitious to write history in the Moroccan city. World bronze medallist Ben Pattison, Spain’s Adrian Ben, and Botswana’s in-form Tshepiso Masalela will challenge the trio from Kenya.

In the women's 5000m race, Edinah Jebitok of Kenya will battle Ethiopia’s Medina Eisa, Melknat Wudu, and Fotyen Tesfaye.

Eyes will also be on the 400m hurdle, with Jamaica likely to claim the podium positions. The Caribbean nation will be led by world leader and world bronze medallist Rushell Clayton, who will take on Commonwealth champion Janieve Russell and compatriot Shiann Salmon.

Kibiwott, Kipruto vs El Bakkali

The home fans are expected to be behind world and Olympic steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali. The Moroccan has produced his fastest times of the season at the meeting for the past two years, clocking 7:58.28 in 2022 and then improving to a personal best and meeting record of 7:56.68 in 2023.

El Bakkali will be getting his track season in Marrakesh, and his rivals are Ethiopia's Samuel Firewu, winner in Doha last week with a personal best of 8:07.25, two-time world champion Conseslus Kipruto, world bronze medallist Abraham Kibiwott, and Getnet Wale.

With steeplechase world record-holder Lamecha Girma not taking part in the discipline, this is likely to hand Kenya's Kbiwott and Kipruto a fighting chance.

Kenyan athlete Abraham Kibiwott (right) gets over a hurdle during the 3,000m steeplechase race at the Tokyo Olympics. PHOTO/SPORTPICHA

Girma will, however, race in the 1500m and is tipped as the pre-race favourite given that he holds the national 1500m record of 3:29.51. France’s Azeddine Habz, Spain’s Adel Mechaal, and Britain’s Elliot Giles will challenge the Ethiopian.

There are expected fireworks in the women's 200m, with two-time world champion Shericka Jackson making her highly anticipated 200m season debut.

Jackson has been a dominant figure in the race, with a winning streak of 15 finals stretching back to June 2022. She has won two world titles and has come close to the long-standing world record, notching up three sub-21.50 performances over that period.

Jackson managed to set a meeting record of 21.98 in 2023 in Rabat, and on Sunday she will come up against European champion Mujinga Kambundji and Denmark’s Ida Karstoft.

Botswana’s Bayapo Ndori and South Africa’s Lythe Pillay will renew their rivalry in the 4x400m flat. Commonwealth champion Muzala Samukonga of Zambia and world indoor champion Alexander Doom of Belgium are also lined up in the race.

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