30 May 2018

Kenya: Kinyamal Goes for More Glory in Rome

Commonwealth 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal will be hoping for his second Diamond League victory as the Rome Golden Gala goes down on Thursday.

Fresh from winning the Commonwealth title in Gold Coast last month, Kinyamal won on his Diamond League debut in Shanghai on May 12 in not only a personal best, but also a Meet record time of 1 minute and 43.91 seconds.

However, the 20-year-old Kinyamal would finish third at the Prefontaine Classic last Saturday in Eugene, USA, clocking 1:46.14.

He lost the battle to compatriot Emmanuel Korir, who claimed his second Diamond League victory this season in 1:45.16.

Korir, who won in Doha in a season's best of 1:45.21 on May 4, was tripped off the course but managed to get back, overtaking Nijel Amos from Botswana on the home straight to triumph.

Amos, the reigning Diamond League champion, finished second in 1:45.51.

Amos and Korir will not be in action, but Kinyamal has a star-studded field to beat in the likes of World 800m bronze medallist Kipyegon Bett and World 800m silver medallist Adam Kszczot from Poland.

Also in the field is the 2015 World 800m bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia and Herzegovina, compatriots Jonathan Kitilit, whom Kinyamal edged to second place in Shanghai and the 2016 Diamond League Series winner Ferguson Rotich.

"I just plan to run a good race and I believe I will produce something good once again," said Kinyamal, who is already in Rome, eying to lower his personal best from Shanghai.

"The field is rich but I am not under any pressure to perform since its God who knows what will happen."

Kinyamal has the fastest time in the field this season with his victory in Shanghai followed by Kitilit in 1:43.95 also from Shanghai.

New kid on the block Benjamin Kigen and Commonwealth 1,500m silver medallist Beatrice Chepkoech hope to seal their second victories when they slug it out in the men and women's 3,000m steeplechase races.

Kigen, who was the surprise winner at Prefontaine Classic on Saturday with a personal best 8:09.07, will once again confront Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto, who is also the Commonwealth champion.

Also in the field is World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Amos Kiru and the 2008 and 2012 Olympic 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad from France.

Chepkoech ran a world lead time of 9:07.27 in Shanghai, but faces competition from Jamaican Aisha Praught-Leer and compatriot Cellphine Chespol.

Also in the rich field is the 2015 World 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng, who is also the 2012 Rio Olympics silver medallist and the 2017 World 3,000m steeplechase champion Emma Coburn, who won bronze in Rio.

It left to be known how Chepkoech will handle Coburn after her disappointment at the 2017 London World Championships, where she missed the water barrier to let the American win.

Chepkoech also watched from the terraces as Praught-Leer embarrassed Chespol and Kirui in Gold Coast, having competed in the 1,500m where she lost to South African Caster Semenya.

After winning the Bowerman Mile race at the Prefontaine Classic, Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot goes for the win in his preferred 1,500m race, where he faces the World and Commonwealth 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi.

Manangoi, who won his first Diamond League event in Rome in 2016, finished third during the Prefontaine Classic.

World Indoor champion Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia completes a star-studded line-up race, which also features another Golden Gala winner Silas Kiplagat.

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