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Chepngetich starts her title defence campaign

ATHLETICS By Dennis Okeyo and IAAF | October 2nd 2019 | 2 min read
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

World champion Faith Chepngetich will be looking to step up and retain her title after a year out on maternity leave as she lines up in the 1,500m heats today at the ongoing World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The Kenyan, who is also the Olympic champion, made a triumphant return to the track with victory at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stanford in June and at the Kenyan trials.  

She will partner with African and Continental Cup champion Winny Chebet.

The Kenyans will get usual repulsion from traditional rivals Ethiopia who will be led by Gudaf Tsegay after Genzebe Dibaba, the 2015 world champion withdrew from the championships. The other Ethiopian in the lineup is Axumawit Embaye, the 2016 world Indoor silver medallist.

Away from Africa, World 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan has made up her mind and will be featuring in the  1500m event.

The Dutchwoman has demonstrated her middle-distance supremacy in 2019 by recording the world’s fastest time (3:55.30) in Monaco en route to the world mile record as well as claiming an emphatic 1,500m victory at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich.

Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen has also enjoyed an outstanding season, setting national outdoor records for the mile, 3,000m and 5,000m. Over 1,500m her highlight came when the 22-year-old clocked 3:59.02 to finish second at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich.

In women’s 5,000m heats, Kenya’s Hellen Obiri, the defending champion will be hoping to make amends for her performance in 10,000m where she finished fourth.

Obiri will partner with Lilian Kasait and Margaret Chelimo who will be a significant force in the event with a personal best of 14:31.69 which she registered this season.

Ethiopia, traditionally strong, will be represented by a strong quartet headed by Letesenbet Gidey who finished second in the women’s 10,000m, who has a best of 14:23.14 and ran a season’s best of 14:29.54 as she finished second in the Diamond League final.

European hopes will be resting with Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, fourth on this year’s world list with the national record of 14:26.76 she ran in Berlin in August.

Klosterhalfen, a training partner of Hassan, indicated her growing confidence as she finished third in Brussels in 14:29.89, one place ahead of the world champion.

Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford will be another one to watch.

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