Shanghai will be tough test, says Winny Chebet ahead of Diamond League

By Robin Toskin: Wednesday, May 15th 2019 at 00:30 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kenya’s 800m and 1,500m athlete Winny Chebet in past action. [Internet]

Africa’s 1500m women champion Winny Chebet begins the IAAF Diamond League campaign in Shanghai, China, on Saturday hoping to improve on her Personal Best time of 3:56.05 over the distance.

Chebet shifted to 1,500m speciality from 800m with the help of fast-rising middle distance coach Bernard Ouma of Rongai Athletics Club.

“Shanghai will provide a good test on the progress I have made so far. I can confidently say I’m prepared for the race. I’m also happy that I have no injury concerns,” 28-year-old Chebet told Standard Sports on Monday, at Africa Nazarene University, one of Rongai Athletics Club’s training bases.

“My body has responded very well to training. Initially, I had a stiff back, but I feel much better now and relaxed.”

With Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands entered for the China event, Chebet believes Shanghai will also provide her with the chance to gauge herself further since stepping up to 1,500m

“I am enjoying 1500m given that in this race, I have time to shift through the gears and not having to kick all through like in 800m,” said Chebet, who holds a Personal Best time of 1:58.13 achieved in Zagreb, Croatia on August 29, 2017.

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She added: “The Diamond League also provides me with the chance to build momentum heading into the World Championships, which I am really eager to take part in. Therefore, I hope to do well in Shanghai as part of plans for Doha in September.”

Hassan with a PB of 3:56.05 will be the woman to watch alongside Ethiopian duo of Gudaf Tsegay and Dawit Seyum, who hold Season Bests of 3:57.64 and 3:58.09 with Morocco’s Rababe Arafi (3:59.15) expected to provide a stiff challenge to the African champion, Chebet.

Two other Kenyans Nelly Jepkosgei (4:00.99) and Josephine Kiplangat (4:08.77) will be bidding to upstage the form book.

In 3000mSC, World Record holder Beatrice Chepkoech (8:44.32 PB) will be the star attraction in a crowded field that has Mercy Chepkurui (9:29.42 PB), Fancy Cherono (9:32.85 PB) and Celliphine Chespol (8:58.78 PB).

Others are; Daisy Jepkemei (9:10.71 PB), Norah Jeruto (8:59.62 PB) and Caroline Tuigong (9:28.81 PB).

Chespol left Nairobi last evening for China hoping to start her season on a high.

“I have been training well and so far so good,” she said adding that with the presence of top Kenyan 3000mSC runners, Shanghai will be a tough test.

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