Kenya: Four Reigning World Champions Set for Kip Classic

23 September 2020

Ethiopia's Edris Muktar is among four world champions that have confirmed participation in the inaugural Kip Keino Classic slated for October 3 at Nyayo National Stadium.

World champions Hellen Obiri (5,000m), Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m) and Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase) hope to cash on local advantage to prevail in this World Athletics Continental Tour event.

Muktar, who retained his 5,000m world title in Doha last year, will lead a strong Ethiopian assault in the 5,000m in the Nairobi meet that has attracted 120 athletes from 30 nationalities.

However, the meeting director Barnaba Korir said that more elite athletes are expected to confirm participation before closure of entries on Friday.

Athletics Kenya senior vice president Paul Mutwii said a dry run will be conducted on Saturday involving three races -- 200m, 400m and 800m, to test equipment and general preparedness.

The tentative confirmations are also dotted with medallists from World Championships, World Cross Country Championships, Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

The signed up elite athletes will take part in the core and discretionary categories respectively.

Core events during the Kip Keino Classic are triple jump, hammer throw, 200m and 3,000m steeplechase, featuring men and women while Javelin throw (men only), 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m fall under discretionary category.

The 26-year-old Muktar will spearhead the Ethiopian assault that has world 5,000m silver medallist Selemon Barega and the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet, who won bronze at the 2015 Beijing and silver at 2013 Moscow World Championships.

The 5,000m team also has Haile Talahun, who settled for fourth in the 5,000m race at the Doha World Championships and youngster Berihu Aregawi, the World Under-20 10,000m bronze medallist.

The men's 5,000m will be a stellar-cast field with the Ethiopians coming up against Kenyans Jacob Krop and Nicholas Kimeli, who finished sixth and eighth in Doha.

Kimeli is fresh from winning the men's 10,000m at the Gouden Spike meeting in Leiden Norway, clocking a world-leading and personal best time of 26:58.97.

Kenya's Rhonex Kipruto, who won bronze in 10,000m in Doha, has also thrown down the gauntlet in the 5,000m race that has Samuel Kibet and Oscar Chelimo from Uganda.


Interestingly, the event could see the transition of Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi from 800m to 5,000m where she will come up against Obiri and other top cream runners from Kenya and Ethiopia.

The 2017 world 800m silver medallist is among athletes who were affected by high testosterone level rules.

Under World Athletics guidelines introduced last year, such athletes would have to take testosterone-reducing drugs to be allowed to compete in races from 400m to 1,500m.

Besides Obiri, the winner of 5,000m race in Monaco and Niyonsaba, the 5,000m women's race has world 5,000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo, world cross country under-20 champion Beatrice Chebet, world 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop and Ethiopian youngster Abersh Minsewo.

Kipruto will renew his rivalry with Moroccan world 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Soufiane El Bakkali in steeplechase.

Meanwhile, former national 100m and 200m champion Mike Mokamba and Steve Mwai will feature in men's 200m that has Arthur Cisse from Côte d'Ivoire. The Ivorian is fresh from finishing second in the 100m of Rome's Diamond League on Thursday last week in a time of 10.04.

Eunice Kadogo is the only Kenyan entrant in women's 200m while the national 400m champion Alphas Kishoyian and Collins Omae have lined up in 400m with Hellen Syombua, Joan Cherono and Mary Moraa in the one-lap race.

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