Kenya: Youngster Keter Ready to Dine With Metric Mile Kings

"If a child washed his hands, he could eat with kings."

This is an Igbo proverb, made famous by the late Chinua Achebe's novel "Things Fall Apart" meaning that anyone can make positive changes and become successful.

That proverb perhaps resonates well with Africa Under-18 1,500m champion Vincent Keter, who has already washed his hands and now dinning with the world's best metric mile athletes.

The 19-year-old Keter said linking up with Rongai Athletics Club in 2018 has bore the change he needed to perform well at the big stage.

GREAT HONOUR

Keter has described joining "Team Cheruiyot" ahead of their battle against "Team Ingebrigtsen" in virtual Maurie Plant Memorial Race on June 11 this year as a great honour.

Keter will team up with clubmates, the reigning World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot, the 2017 World 1,500m Elijah Manang'oi, Edwin Melly and Timothy Sein in "Team Cheruiyot."

Racing over 2000m, "Team Ingebrigtsen" comprising the Norwegian Ingebrigtsen brothers, will run at the Bislett Stadium, while "Team Cheruiyot" will run at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

Jakob, the European 1,500m and 5,000m champion, Henrik and Filip form "Team Ingebrigtsen" that is currently training in Norway and will be joined by two other athletes to make a team of five.

Maurie Plant Race that is in the memory of Maurie Plant, who was one of the most significant figures in Australian and world athletics, is one of the races on card during the "Impossible Games."

INSPIRATION

"There is nothing inspiring like training and running alongside two great 1,500m runners. It was never in my wildest dreams that I would one day be in the middle of greatness," said the 18-year-old athlete from Silibwet, Bomet County. "What is humbling is how disciplined and focused are Manang'oi and Cheruiyot."

Keter said he will be ready to navigate the deep waters when Maurie Plant race is staged. "I know 2,000m is a completely new event for my team but we have prepared well," explained Keter. "There were minimal adjustment tough with more of endurance than speed work."

After the "Impossible Games" event, Keter, who was recruited right after clearing school in 2018 by coach Ben Ouma, said he will turn his focus to the 2020 Diamond League and World Athletic Continental Tour that have been delayed to August and September owing to Covid-19 pandemic.

"However, my main target is the Nairobi World Under-20 Championships and perhaps the Tokyo Olympic Games next year," said Keter, who has had a good indoor season, winning one race and finishing sixth in two others in France in February this year.

Keter also won the 1,500m final during the third leg of Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meeting in March at Kasarani.

The world junior event that was due for July 7-12 at Kasarani has also been rescheduled to a later date while Tokyo Olympics has also been postponed to July 23 to August 8 next year.

Maurie Plant Race will be shown on international TV as a split screen competition with both teams starting with five runners. However, three will finish to score. The winner will be the team with the best overall time for three runners.

Individual times will count as well, and the Ingebrigtsen brothers will have one eye on the European record of 4:51.39 held by Steve Cram, who will be commentating on the race.

Several other big names will compete at the Games.

In the pole vault, Mondo Duplantis will take on immediate former world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie.

World champion Daniel Stahl will compete in the discus, while two-time world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm will attempt to break the world best in the 300m hurdles.

The women's 300m hurdles will be a three-way clash between European champion Lea Sprunger, Olympic silver medallist Sara Slott Petersen and Norwegian record-holder Amalie Iuel.

BIO

Name: Vincent Kibet Keter

Date of Birth: March 11, 2002

Club: Rongai Athletics Club

Coach: Ben Ouma

World ranking: 36

Personal Best:

Outdoor- 800m (1:51.18), 1,500m (3:36.27)

Indoor- 1,500m (3:37.95)

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