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Keter turn guns to Diamond League debut

Last updated 1 month ago | By Dennis Okeyo

From left: Edwin Melli, Vincent Keter, Winny Chebet, Timothy Sein, Elija Manangoi during a training session at Nyayo National Stadium. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

When the World Under-20 Athletics Championships was postponed because of Covid-19 pandemic, Africa junior 1500m champion Vincent Keter was crestfallen.

He decided to train his sights on World Athletics Diamond League that runs from September.

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Keter, who comes from Silibwet village in Bomet County alongside world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot, is ready to prove his mettle in 1500m as he prepares to make his debut in senior ranks in the Diamond League.

In 2018, Keter joined Rongai Athletics Club -- the stable that has top stars among them Commonwealth Games champion Elijah Manangoi, former Africa 1500m champion Winny Chebet, World Under-20 George Manangoi and Cheruiyot -- and he says training with the world beating stars inspires him.

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“I still don’t believe that I train with such stars at the club. They make me have self-belief. I hope that one day I will be like them.”

“I was ready for this season and my target was to use the world Under 20 as launching pad into senior competitions. Unfortunately, Covid-19 crisis ruined that dream,” he said.

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Keter, who picked up athletics while a student at Chesoen High School in Sotik, made his international debut at an Indoor meeting in France where he finished sixth in 3:43.

“It was a great experience, especially racing against Selemon Barega of Ethiopia. It motivated me.

"Last year, I won gold at the Africa Junior championship in Abidjan, Ivory Coast," Keter said.

Keter will be part of Team Cheruiyot that will take on Norwegian brothers on June 11.

The virtual race dubbed ‘Impossible Games’ will see Kenyan stars such as Cheruiyot, Manangoi, Edwin Melli, Timothy Sein compete against Norwegian brothers Henrik, Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen in 2000m race.

“I am glad to be part of this event. I have never ran 2000m event. It’s a challenge that every team member is looking forward to. It’s a great idea especially now that there are no sports events," said Keter, who also won the East Africa Secondary School games 1500m title.

Team Cheruiyot will race in high altitude at the Nyayo National Stadium while Team Ingebrigtsen in low altitude in Oslo.

“After this virtual race, I will start preparing for my Diamond League debut in Monaco. I am looking forward to run with big boys of the sport,” Keter said.