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BRING ON FARAH: Kenyans dare British double Olympic champ at the Continental Cup

JONATHAN KOMEN

Updated Wednesday, September 3rd 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3
Jairus Kipchoge Birech after winning the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the 19th Senior African Championships on August 12, 2014 in Marrakesh. [PHOTO: AFP]

World 5,000m bronze medalist Isaiah ‘Chairman’ Kiplang’at has fired warning shots to Britain’s double Olympic champion Mo Farah ahead of the IAAF Inter-Continental Cup that runs in Marrakech, Morocco, on September 14-15.

Kiplang’at, who won 5,000m bronze at the Commonwealth Games, said he’s ready to face Mo Farah.

“If the pace will be slow, he can beat us. Mo Farah has competed in one Diamond League in Birmingham and he capitalised on the final 1,000m. I will use the experience I have had to compete and leave no chances. I will give it my best,” Kiplang’at told FeverPitch by telephone yesterday.

“I have resumed training and hope the strategy will work. If I approach the bell while still ahead of Mo Farah, I will not let him unleash his usual kicks,” said Kiplangat.

David Okeyo, the Athletics Kenya vice president in charge of administration and international affairs, said Africa can weather the storm.

“We have a strong team as Africa. We are confident someone like (Isaiah) Kiplang’at can beat double Olympic champion Mo Farah,” said Okeyo.

Kenya’s squad of 10 athletes will leave on Wednesday next week to the north Africa nation.
Africa is seeking to reclaim the title they lost to Europe in Split, Croatia, in 2010.

Kenyan athletes are Asbel Kiprop (1,500m), Isaiah Koech (5,000m), Jairus Birech (3,000m steeplechase), Julius Yego (Javelin), Boniface Mucheru (4x400m), Janet Kisa (3,000m), Joyce Chepkirui (5,000m), Caleb Ndiku (3,000m), Hellen Obiri (1,500m) and Eunice Sum (800m).

The African team’s best chances are expected to come in the track events, and their line-up boasts seven athletes who currently top the world list in their respective events.

Jairus Birech, the fastest steeplechaser in the world this year, will be one of their top hopes, along with world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba, 3,000m world leader Hellen Obiri, African 800m champion Nijel Amos, world indoor 3,000m champion Caleb Ndiku, African javelin record-holder Ihab Abdelrahman and Ethiopian steeplechaser Hiwot Ayalew.

The European team is not final, but it will feature Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, who set a world record of 79.58m in Berlin.

Other world-leading European athletes who will be invited to compete in Marrakech – based on their results at the European Championships – include pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie, Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers, Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford, Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan, Spanish high jumper Ruth Beitia, hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek and discus thrower Sandra Perkovic.

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