Nyairera and Sum lead Kenyans

By Denis Okeyo: Thursday, July 5th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
[PHOTO: COURTESY]

Action galore is expected when Kenyans get down to the thrill of night battle at the eighth stop of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, tonight.

Olympic 800m bronze medalist Margaret Nyairera and 2013 world 800m champion Eunice Sum need to be at their best to counter South Africa’s Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, Olympic 800m silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and America’s Ajee Wilson in 1,500m showdown.

Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia, home-girl Selina Buchel and Britain’s 2014 Commonwealth Games 800m silver medalist Lynsey Sharp are also itching for glory.

But the men’s 5,000m contest will certainly stand out as the night’s showstopper at the Athletissima Meeting in Lausanne.

David Bett, the 2009 World Youth 3,000m silver medalist and younger brother of 2014 Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Josphat Bett, leads 2015 World Under-18 3,000m Champion Richard Kimunyan, Commonwealth Games Youth 3,00m champion Davies Kiplagat and Collins Cheboi, an IAAF Diamond League speedster, against a quality 5,000m line up inside Stade olympique de la Pontaise.

They will be up against Ethiopia’s world champion Muktar Edris, World Indoor 3,000m silver medalist Selemon Barega, another Ethiopian, as well as America’s Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo.

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Barega, at just 18 years old, cannot be ruled out. He won the two mile race in Eugene in May and then triumphed in 5000m in Stockholm with a world-leading 13:04.05. He followed it with a world-leading clocking of 7:37.53 in the 3000m in Ostrava.

Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigtsen looks highly likely to improve his 5000m personal best of 13:16.97 battling strong challenge from countrymen Edris and Barega.

Africa 800m silver medalist Winny Chebet and Emily Cherotich have a mountain to climb against Semenya 1500m race –the contest that brings back memories of 2009 Africa Junior Championships in Mauritius when the South Africa beat Chebet, then a student at Kiptere Secondary School in Kericho County.

Meanwhile world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri and Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba will square it out in 5000m at the Meeting International Mohammed VI D’Athletisme de Rabat, the ninth stop of the 2018 IAAF Diamond League, on 13 July.

Dibaba, the world record holder at 1500m and Olympic silver medalist over the distance, is also the fifth fastest of all time in 5,000m with a 14:15.41 personal best from 2015.

Obiri is the Olympic silver medallist and world champion at 5000m, whose 14:18.37 lifetime best, from 2017, ranks her eighth fastest of all time.

Their career paths have crossed twice over the distance, first at Rome’s Golden Gala Diamond League fixture last year, the race in which Obiri produced her lifetime best, taking the victory with Dibaba finishing a distant sixth.

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