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SPORTS

Hellen Obiri, Timothy Cheruiyot aim for strong return in Doha

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | May 28th 2021
Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot celebrates after winning the Men's 1500m final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on October 6, 2019. [Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP]

Thirty-one athletes who earned medals at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 – including 12 champions – will return to the Qatari capital tonight for the second Wanda Diamond League meeting.

Kenyan world champions Timothy Cheruiyot (1500m) and Hellen Obiri (5000m) struck gold in Doha two years ago and will be aiming to come out on top again tonight.

Obiri will contest in the 3000m, the event she won at last year’s Doha Diamond League meeting, and she’ll be up against world 5000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo and 2017 world cross country bronze medallist Lilian Kasait Rengeruk. All the three Kenyan women have set their 3000m personal bests in Doha.

While Cheruiyot has dominated the 1500m on the Wanda Diamond League circuit in recent years, he is yet to win at the Doha meeting. He hopes to rectify that tonight, though, when he takes on the lines of Australian record-holder Stewart McSweyn, world indoor champion Samuel Tefera, Ugandan record-holder Ronald Musagala and world indoor 3000m bronze medallist Bethwell Birgen.

World silver medallist Amel Tuka and world bronze medallist Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich will square off in the men’s 800m. Britain’s Daniel Rowden, who made a break-through last year with some notable international victories, will make his 2021 debut.

Olympic 1500m champion Faith Chepngétich Kipyegon steps down in distance to contest the 800m in Doha, where she’ll face European indoor champion Keely Hodgkinson, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo and Jamaican record-holder Natoya Goule.

The women’s steeplechase also features USA’s Emma Coburn and Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng.

World bronze medallist Gesa Felicitas Krause, Asian champion Winfred Yavi, Ugandan record-holder Peruth Chemutai and sub-nine-minute performer Norah Jeruto are also in the lineup.

Every scoring discipline on the programme includes at least one world medallist, while four of the disciplines – the women’s triple jump, pole vault, discus and steeplechase – boast the full complement of podium finishers from the 2019 World Championships.

All eyes will be on the triple jump after world champion Yulimar Rojas bounded out to a world-leading 15.43m at the World Athletics Continental Tour meeting in Andujar last week. Her leap is the same distance as her world indoor record and just seven centimetres – which, if you’re reading this on a smartphone, is roughly the width of your device – away from the long-standing world record.

The last time Rojas was in Doha, she won the world title with 15.37m. The Venezuelan will be reunited with the top five finishers from that occasion, including Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen, world silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts, Commonwealth champion Kimberly Williams, and 2011 world champion Olga Saladukha.

Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot runs to victory in the men's 1500 metres during the IAAF Diamond League athletics 'Herculis' meeting at The Stade Louis II Stadium in Monaco on July 20, 2018. [AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHE]
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