Kenyan Stars Eye Positive Start to Diamond League Season

(file photo).
14 August 2020

World champions Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m), Hellen Obiri (5,000m) and Beatrice Chepkoech (3,000m steeplechase) will line up in Monaco Friday evening as the 2020 Diamond League gets underway.

Also in action are the Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepng'etich, World 800m bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich, World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Leonard Bett and fast-rising 5,000m junior Jacob Krop.

Cheruiyot and his colleagues Vincent Keter and Timothy Sein will be eyeing revenge against the Ingebrigtsen brothers from Norway, Jakob and Filip, who beat them during the virtual Maurie Plant 2,000m race at the Impossible Games on June 11.

The only person missing from the team is the 2017 World 1,500m champion Elijah Manang'oi, who has been flagged down by the Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) for his whereabouts violation.

Before Maurie Plant Race, Jakob and Henrik had downed the Norwegian 5km Road Race record of 13:37 during the Sondre Nordstad Moen on May 20 this year in Stavanger, Norway.

The 19-year-old Jakob, who is the reigning European 1,500m and 5,000m champion, won the race in a new time 13:28, setting the ball rolling ahead of the Maurie Plant Memorial Race. Henrik also dipped into the record, finishing in 13:32.

"The athletes are in good spirit ready for the race," said coach Benard Ouma, who has accompanied the Kenyan athletes. "I foresee a winning time of 3:28/9 in 1,500m."

Obiri, the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist, will take on Chepkoech and World 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands in the 5,00m race.

It will be the trio's first race since their respectively exploits at the Doha World Championships last year. Obiri has personal best 14:18.37, Hassan 14:22.12 while Chepkoech's is 14:39.33.

Also in the mix is Ethiopia's World 10,0000m silver medallist Gidey Letesenbet, Jessica Hull from Australia and Shannon Rowbury from United States of America.

The last time Monaco hosted a long distance track event for women was in 2017 where Obiri, who is the reigning Continental Cup champion, won the 3,000m race.

Rotich faces a rich field as he opens up his season in Monaco. Rotich will be seeking revenge against USA's Donavan Brazier and Amel Tuka from Bosnia-Herzegovina, who beat him to gold and silver at the World Championships.

Chepng'etich takes on Uganda's Halimah Nakaayi, who stunned many when she won the 800m title at Doha World Championships and European 1,500m champion Laura Muir.

Chepng'etich is not only looking forward for a successful debut over the 1,000m race but also in Monaco.

"I really want to start my season well but it will be interesting this being my first time in Monaco and more so to compete over 10,000m," said Chepng'etich.

Chepeng'etich said she will be able to determine how her season will unravel after Monaco. "There will be so much ahead before the end of the year but I welcome the challenges," explained Chepng'etich, who set the new National 1,500m record of 3:54.22 when settling for silver in 2019 Doha.

Bett will take on Ethiopian Lamecha Girma, who settle for silver at the World Championships after a thrilling photo-finish with Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto and World 3,0000m steeplechase bronze medallist Soufiane El Bakkali from Morocco.

Kipruto stayed away from the event after testing positive for coronavirus.

Monaco program (Kenyan time)

8.40pm: Pole Vault (men final)

9.03pm: 110m hurdles (men final)

9.05pm: High jump (women finals)

9.12 pm: 800m (men final)

9.17pm : Triple jump (women final)

9.19pm: 5,000m (women final)

9.42pm: 400m hurdles (men final)

9.50pm : 100m (women final)

9.57pm: 1,500m (men final)

10.07pm: 400m (women final)

10.13pm: 5,000m (men final)

10.32pm: 200m (men final)

10.39pm: 1,000m (women final)

10:47pm: 3,000m steeplechase (men final)

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