By JONATHAN KOMEN
|Genzebe Dibaba and Hellen Obiri compete at the Moscow World Championships. The two will meet in Sopot, Poland during the World Indoor Championships in the 3,000m race. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]|
Kenya team leaves tomorrow for the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in Sopot, Poland, which starts on Friday to Sunday.
The nine-member team, that includes one official, will leave at 4:45pm aboard Turkish Airlines to Istanbul where they will make a brief stop-over before proceeding to the Polish capital, Warsaw.
The team will be seeking to improve on the four-medal haul they harvested at the previous championships in Istanbul. Two years ago, former Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo and World 1,500m bronze medallist Hellen Obiri struck gold medals while Edwin Soi and Augustine Choge won silver and bronze medals in the 3,000m distance.
Kenya wound up fifth after USA, Germany, Russia and Ethiopia in Istanbul in 2012. The nation is now pregnant with huge expectations.
Abraham Mutai, the team manager, said he had high hopes in the team.
bank on experience
“We have an experienced team in which most of them have won medals or competed in big championships. The indoor season has been good for us and we hope to produce the best result,” said Mutai.
Silas Kiplagat, who missed the medal bracket at the Moscow Worlds, will be out to make amends in Poland.
“I am in top form and ready to compete. I hope to win a medal in Sopot to boost my title defence bid at the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, Scotland),” said Kiplagat.
Augustine Choge returns to the World Indoors keen on improving his pecking order after bagging bronze in Istanbul two years ago.
Having improved from 11th place at the 2010 championships in Doha to bronze in Istanbul, Choge would be ready to take the top spot.
Choge, an old guard in the World Indoor teams, has performed fairly well clocking 7:37.11 in Birmingham mid last month.
He will join forces with Caleb Mwangangi, who also returns to Poland after winning the 2010 World Cross Country Junior race in Bydgoszcz.
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America will be sending over 20 athletes in several disciplines while Ethiopia has named an 11-member squad for the job, which includes two reserves.
Genzebe Dibaba, the reigning World Indoor 1,500m champion, who has been in incredible form this season after setting indoor records in each of her three outings, will line up against defending champion Hellen Obiri and All Africa Games 1,500m champion Irene Jelagat in 3,000m.
At the 2012 showpiece in Istanbul, Obiri won 3,000m title in 8.37.16 to deprive Ethiopian Meseret Defar of a fifth consecutive title.
But Jelagat, who has 8:40.75 season best she set in Stockholm, is on comeback from maternity keen to curve a niche.
Kibiwott, who was in Kenya’s team to the 2010 World Indoors in Doha, returns to Poland full of expectations.