The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Stage Set for Three-Way 10,000m Showdown

The men's 10,000m final tonight here in Moscow will be a battle between Kenya, Ethiopia and Britain. Briton double Olympic champion Mo Farah will be the man to watch. The three countries hope to kick off the world athletics championship on a high and there is no better way to do that than snatch gold on the opening day.

With the women's marathon set for 2pm, the 10,000m final tonight will kick start the medal hunt on the track. Kenya are banking on Bedan Karoki, Philip Tanui and Kenneth Kipkemoi to pull the magic even though it is easiersaid than done. Karoki has a personal best of 27:05.50 with a season best of 27:13.12 while Tanui boasts a personal best of 26:50.63 and a season best of 27:21.50. Kipkemoi's personal best stands at 26:5265 and a season best of 27:4128.

The three face an Ethiopian team of four runners that includes defending champion Jeilan Ibrahim with a personal best of 27:02.81. In Daegu South Korea, Jeilan was the only Ethiopian to win gold. Others in the team are- world leader, Dejen Gebremeskel (26:51.02 PB); Abera Kuma (26:52.85) and Imane Merga (26:48.35).

Mo Farah with a personal best of 26:46.57 will be the main rival for Kenya and Ethiopia and as usual, he will be eyeing a double. For the first time, Kenyans and Ethiopians are sharing the same mission of bringing down Mo Farah. "We can't allow him to toy around with us year in year out... something has to be done," said one of the Kenyan runners, who sought anonymity. "It will not be business as usual if we allow him to take the 10,000m and go ahead to win the 5,000m. The funny thing is that he has gone further down and also wants to rule the 1,500m," he added.

Kenyan coach Sammy Rono reckons the race has to be run very fast if the Briton is to be defeated. "The Kenyans and Ethiopians should not allow him to control the pace the way he did in London. The two African neighbours need to take charge from the onset and make him suffer with the pace. This is a man who recently ran 3:28.81 in the 1,500m and the biggest mistake one can do is to slow down the race... he will just kill you on the final lap," he noted.

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