Tough task ahead for 5,000m team as track action starts

By Dennis Okeyo: Thursday, September 26th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
5000 meters Men category during World Athletics Championship Trials at Nyayo Stadium on Thursday, Sept 12, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Since Benjamin Limo won the gold medal in men’s 5000m in 2005 in Helsinki, Finland, Kenya hasn’t won the title again and as the IAAF World Championships starts tomorrow in Doha, the question is will the wait continue?

The chase for glory in the event has been made even more difficult after Athletics Kenya (AK) failed to enter three runners in the event.

Kenya will be represented by Nicholas Kimeli and Jacob Krop who finished third and fourth respectively at the World Championships trials.

Stringent anti-doping rules set by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) that requires an athlete to have undergone at least three mandatory out-of-competition tests prior to the championships forced AK to drop Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiyu who finished first and second during the Kenyan trials for failing to comply with the regulations. 

Kimeli who has a PB of 12:57.90 clocked at the World Challenge in Hengelo earlier in the year will lead Krop, a newcomer in the national team. The duo faces an uphill task against Ethiopian duo of Selemon Barega and Yomif Kejelcha and Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei who have been dominant this season when they get start action with the 5,000m heats tomorrow in chase for the elusive title.

Telahun Haile Bekele is another Ethiopian to watch out for as he leads this year’s world list following his 12:52.98 run at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome.

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American Paul Chelimo may not have won any races this year – he was even beaten at the US Championships – but having earned medals at the 2017 World Championships and 2016 Olympic Games, he can never be discounted.

Barega hasn’t won any races over 5000m this year but has consistently featured near the front of the pack, placing second in Shanghai, Rome and Lausanne before finishing fifth at the IAAF Diamond League final in 12:59.66.

Barega, who is also entered for the 10,000m in Doha, is a much-improved athlete since his fifth-place finish in the 5,000m as a 17-year-old at the 2017 World Championships. He has set PBs at 3,000m (7:32.17) and 10,000m (26:49.46) this year and, with a lifetime best of 12:43.02 from 2018, has the fastest PB in the field.

Meanwhile, Eunice Sum, the 2013 world champion and bronze medallist in 2015 will be Kenya’s representative at the World Championships in women’s 800m event after Jackline Wambui, the World Under-18 champion dropped out over what the running authority terms as failing to comply with Differences in Sexual Development requirements.

Sum, 31, clocked 1:58.99, a season’s best at the Kenyan trials, finishing second behind Wambui and will be making her fifth appearance at the global event

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