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Kenyan stars set for epic battle in Rabat

September 9, 2021 Kenya's Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir celebrates winning the men's 800m REUTERS

The adrenaline levels are running high ahead of the fourth Wanda Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco, tomorrow.

Top guns will tune up their form ahead of the World Athletics Championships national trials set for Kasarani Stadium on June 24-25 – often billed as the toughest athletics selections in the world after the USA.

The Moroccan meet, which replaced the New York leg in 2016, appears to have assembled the best 800m men stars in the world this season. The start line brims with menace, speed, endurace and superb athletic power.

The clash pitting Kenyan’s US-based Olympic 800m champion Emmanuel Korir, silver medalist Ferguson Rotich and Nijel Amos of Botswana would offer a spectacular sight to behold.

World Under-20 champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi, who drew first blood at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold at the Golden Spike in Ostrava in Czech Republic on Tuesday, is also in the line up. It would also provide a clear pointer on who shall stand out as 800m king this year.

Korir, who has a personal best of 1:42.05, starts off his season in the Morroccan city against Rotich (1:42.54), Wanyonyi (1:43.76), Collins Kipruto (1:43.95) and Michael Saruni, his former collegemate in the USA. Morocco’s Abdelati El Guesse (1:44.84) and France’s Gabriel Tual (1:44.28) are also hungry for glory.

The men’s showdown will also stir debate on who among them will succeed world 800m record holder David Rudisha.

Abel Kipsang, fourth at the Tokyo Olympic Games, is Kenya’s sole representative in 1500m.

He has a leg up after winning Doha and Birmigham meetings before finishing fourth in the mile at the Prefontaine Classic meet in Eugene, USA, last weekend.

He will square it out with France’s Azeddine Habz (3:31.74), Spain’s Mohamed Katir (3:28.76) and Great Britain’s Jake Heyward (3:32.82).

In men’s 3,000m steeplechase, two-time world champion Conseslus Kipruto (8:00.12) will renew rivalry with homeboy and Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali (7:58.15).

It’s a tough duel ducking it out with Commonwealth Games silver medalist Abraham Kibiwott (8:05.72), Olympic bronze medalist Abraham Kigen (8:05.12) and Wilberforce Kones (8:21.42).