High octane show expected as World Championships trials start today

By Dennis Okeyo: Thursday, September 12th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
World under-20 champions Edward Zakayo celebrates winning in a past race [Courtesy]

Adrenaline levels are running high ahead of today’s two-day World Athletics Championships trials at Nyayo National Stadium.

Athletics Kenya (AK) will be using the event to pick the squad to the global track and field contest that starts on September 27 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

The highlight of the day is the men’s s 5000m event where Kenyans have done done well since Benjamin Limo won gold over the distance at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland in 2005.

Today’s 12 lap race has attracted 19 runners and there seem to be no clear favourite. Edward Zakayo, the world Under-20 champion, Stanley Waithaka, Richard Kimunyan and Paul Tanui, the Olympics 10000m silver medalist are among those seeking the elusive ticket to Doha as only the three across the line are assured of a place in the World Championships team.

Other notable runners in the line-up include Rhonex Kipruto, who has already secured his place in the 10,000m team after finishing second at the National Championships which was won by three-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kimworor.

Robert Kiprop who beat Zakayo to win the African Games 5,000m title in Morocco, Ronald Kwemoi and newcomer Daniel Simiyu who won the national championships last month are also in the line up.

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“The level of competition is high, I have noticed Nicholas Kimeli has been in good shape, Stanley Waithaka is also good. I watched the national championships and saw Daniel Simuyu win. Anyway, I’m mentally and physically prepared to face my opponents tomorrow (today) and I hope I get chance to represent Kenya in Doha, also get another chance to face up against Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda,” Zakayo said yesterday.

Meanwhile, after winning her fifth straight race and second straight Diamond League in Zurich and securing a wildcard to Doha worlds, Beatrice Chepkoech, the world record holder will once again face up with her domestic rivals in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase final today.

She will take on the 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng who has rediscovered her form in the recent past, two-time world Under-20 Celliphine Chespol, former African champion Norah Jeruto who has been a constant feature in the Diamond League circuit among others.

Speaking yesterday when he officiated the launch of the Madoka half Marathon at Riadha House, AK President Jackson Tuwei called on Kenyans to turn up and witness the world best runners running at home promising that Kenya will field strong team in Doha.

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