World champions and IAAF Diamond League winners earn wild cards

By Dennis Okeyo: Friday, September 6th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kenya's Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon celebrates with the Kenyan flag after winning the final of the women's 1,500m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 7, 2017. [AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL]

The adrenaline levels are running high ahead of IAAF World Athletics Championships national trials, which will be held at Nyayo Stadium on Thursday and Friday next week.

Top guns are among the 170 athletes set to battle for tickets to the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships that run at the state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on September 28 to October 6.

Athletes must have attained IAAF qualification standard and fulfilled Athletics Integrity Unit and anti-doping requirements in order to compete.

Apart from 1-2-3 across the line criteria, defending champions and 2019 Diamond League Trophy winners will earn a lifeline thanks to IAAF rule.

Elijah Manangoi (1500m), Hellen Obiri (5000), Conseslus Kipruto (3000m steeplechase) and Faith Chepngetich (1500m) are Kenya’s defending champions. World Steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech secured her slot after winning IAAF Diamond League trophy winner in her speciality in Zurich.

Timothy Cheruiyot, the world 1500m season leader, would seal his spot if he retains his IAAF Diamond League trophy in Brussels tonight.

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Others to watch out for in men’s 1500m finals include world under-20 champion George Manangoi, Charles Simotwo, 2015 world under-20 champion Kumari Taki and Ronald Kwemoi, the 2014 Africa 1,500m champion.

“My target is to defend my title in Brussels and then embark on World Championships national trials,” Cheruiyot told Standard Sports.

Fireworks are expected in women’s 800m as former world champion Eunice Sum takes on Eglay Nalianya, world under-18 champion Jackline Wambui, Emily Tuwei and Sylvia Chesebe.

Kenya faces a tall order this season as no Kenyan has dipped under two minutes in the Diamond League series.

US-based Emmanuel Korir will go head to head with Ferguson Rotich, Michael Saruni, Cornelius Tuwei and Alfred Kipketer in men’s 800m finals.

Two-time world under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol, Olympic silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng, Africa champion Norah Jeruto, Mercy Chepkurui and Mercy Wanjiru will battle for the two slots in 3000m steeplechase.

Benjamin Kigen, Abraham Kibiwott, Leonard Bett will lead men’s onslaught in the chase for three slots on offer in 3000m steeplechase. Defending champion Conseslus Kipruto will marshal forces with the three lucky athletes in Doha.

Obiri, who will be in action in Brussels tonight, will be defending her 5,000m title in Doha. She will double at the World Championships having finished second at the national championships in 10,000m final.  

Margaret Chelimo, Eva Cherono, the newly crowned African Games champion Lilian Kasait and world under-20 title holder Beatrice Chebet will contest for the three slots.

World under-20 5000m champion Edward Zakayo, Nicholas Kimeli, Richard Kimunyan, Stanley Waithaka, Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Paul Tanui are front runners in men’s 5000m final.

Millicent Ndoro, Eunice Kadogo, Maureen Thomas and Joan Cherono headline women’s 200m final.

In men’s 200m race, Peter Mwai, Mike Mokamba, Dan Kiviasi will battle.

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