Kenya: Why Fan Favourite Julius Yego Will Miss Kip Keino Classic

30 September 2020

The world should expect some of the most thrilling performances from field events like hammer and javelin throws as athletes start trickling in Nairobi for the Kip Keino Classic on Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Tour athletes' liaison Marco Corstjens pointed out that hammer throw attracting virtually an all-international flavour in men and women category alongside men's javelin was a clear indication on the popularity the inaugural World Athletics Continental Tour has taken.

"We might have drawn top elite fields in sprints, middle and long distance races but we are amazed by the turnout in the field events too.

"Covid-19 pandemic has also affected the turnout with most athletes closing their season in Doha last week but Nairobi's entries are still impressive," said Corstjens.

The 2008 European Cup Winter Throwing Split champion, Italian Marco Lingua, who has personal best 79.97m, Pavel Bareisha and Zakhar Makhrosenka all from Belarus, and Petr Koucky from Czech, are some of the top internationals for the hammer throw event.

Kenya's national champion Dominic Abunda will have a good opportunity to gauge himself with some of the world's best throwers in the men's hammer.

The women's hammer field has Vanessa Sterckendries from Belgium, Valeriya Icanenko of Ukraine and Amastasiya Kalamoeta (71.99) from Belarus.

Tracey Anderson from Sweden, Rosa Rodriguez (73.64m) of Venezuela and Czech's Katerina Chlupova also dot the women's hammer throw start list that has Kenya's Rebecca Kerubo in the rich mix.

Despite the withdrawal of Kenya's Olympic silver medallist Julius Yego over form, Corstjens said men's javelin throw is still saturated with top class throwers.

They are the likes of South African Johan Grobler (80.59m) and Hubert Chmielak (82.58m) from Poland. Frenchman Lukas Moutarde, Sokola Dominik of Czech and Timothy Herman from Belgium will also square it out for top honours in the men's javelin that has Kenya's Alexander Kiprotich, Duncan Kinyanjui and Methusellah Kiprop.

Corstjens said the battle between Olympic and World champion Conseslus Kipruto and arch-rival with Moroccan World bronze medallist Soufiane El Bakkali is in doubt in men's 3,000m steeplechase.

Corstjens said El Bakkali has a hernia injury that saw him compete in 1,500m in Doha while it will be a nice surprise if Kipruto races, having withdrawn from the 1,500m race in Doha.

"Kipruto has an injury but it's my hope that he competes. We keep our fingers crossed," said Corstjens.

Abraham Seme from Ethiopia, Uganda's Abel Sikowo and Hilal Yego of Turkey are the foreign athletes in the 3,000m steeplechase that has the 2016 World Under-20 champion Amos Kirui, who is also the 2019 national cross country champion and 2018 World Under-20 silver medallist Leonard Bett.

The women's 3,000m steeplechase got a boost with the signing of World champion and world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist Hyvin Kiyeng.

The field has athletes from Uganda, Ethiopia and Bahrain.

World 5,000m champion Ethiopia's Edris Muktar, world 5,000m silver medallist Selemon Barega and the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet, won't be coming for the men's 5,000m race.

Corstjens said Muktar is injured while Barega closed his season in Doha but his compatriots youngster Berihu Aregawi, the World Under-20 10,000m bronze medallist and Worku Tadese will grace the race.

Jacob Krop and Nicholas, who finished sixth and eighth in 5,000m in Doha will lead Kenya's assault. 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.

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