Kipsang, Kipkorir upbeat as Kenya hunt for medals in global meet

Athletes compete during the Men's 1500m Semifinal of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 20, 2023. [Xinhua]

The two Kenyan men in tonight’s 1500m final are upbeat about winning the country another World Championship medal in Budapest, Hungary.

African champion Abel Kipsang and World Under-20 champion Reynold Kipkorir Cheruiyot are carrying the hopes of a nation eager for medals from the men’s 1500m.

Last night, Faith Kipyegon, a multiple World Record Holder, and Nelly Chepchirchir represented the country in the women’s 1500m – a race considered as one of Kenya’s medal prospects.

And expectations are high as Kipsang and Kipkorir’s turn comes at 10:15pm.

Kipsang cruised to the finals after a second place behind USA’s Yared Nuguse in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Kipkorir punched his ticket to the final in sixth position in Heat Two where former world champion Timothy Cheruiyot missed out.

The heat was won by Olympic champion Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen who is tipped for gold.

“My prayer was to qualify for the final and that prayer was answered. I will now craft a strategy to win the finals,” said Kipsang, who finished fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He said he had gained confidence after a poor start this season and promised to overcome high temperatures in Budapest.

“This year, I have struggled in my races but I have now regained my confidence ahead of the final. The temperatures in Budapest are high but we had anticipated tough conditions and have worked hard,” Kipsang said.

Kipkorir was also full of confidence ahead of tonight’s final. He said he is eyeing his maiden world medal.

“We have to meet with our coaches and strategise well for the final. My hope is to win a medal.

“There was tension in the semi-finals, but I am thankful that I pushed harder for the ticket to the final,” the youngster, who is set to challenge his seniors for honours in Budapest said.

Before the evening races, Kenya’s dancing queen Mary Moraa will be anchoring the country’s journey to 800m glory as the women’s two-lap Heats start off at 11:05 am.

The 2022 World bronze medallist will be racing in Heat Two, while compatriots Vivian Kiprotich and Naomi Korir are battling for their places in the semi-finals on Heat One and Three respectively. The women’s 800m semi-finals are scheduled for this Friday.

Today, at 12:10 pm, Kipyegon will be running her first 5000m in the World Championships, just hours after the 1500m final.

Kipyegon will be racing alongside former 3000m youth champion Lilian Kasait Rengeruk in Heat Two.

The women’s 5000m Heat one features Beatrice Chebet and Margaret Chelimo.

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