Will Kenyan athletes shine on the final day in Budapest?

Kenya's Mary Moraa celebrates after winning the Women's 800m Semi-Final of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 in Budapest, Hungary on Friday. [Xinhua]

Just a day after the women’s marathon heartbreak, Kenya is today waiting for more world medals from Budapest, with bated breath.

The hopes at the final day of the 2023 Budapest World Championships are pegged on the women’s 3000m steeplechase, the women’s 800m, and the men’s 5000m final tonight.

After last night’s show, a tough contest is also expected this evening.

There will also be the men's marathon this morning where three Kenyans; Milano Marathon winner Titus Kipruto, Hamburg Marathon runner-up Joshua Belet, and Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Timothy Kiplagat will be leading the battle for medals.

It will be an action-packed evening, with World 5000m silver medallist Jacob Krop setting sights on upgrading last year’s second place in the 12.5 lap final at 9:20pm.

Krop will be joined by youngster Ismael Kipkurui in the chase for glory for Kenya.

The Kenyan duo will face 2022 World bronze medallist Mohamed Katir of Spain and Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi among other big shots in the 5000m fight.

It has been disappointing for Kenya in some events in Budapest in a number of races including the men’s 1500m, 100m, and the women’s 10000m.

Kenyan women track stars are seeking to send a strong message on the final day.

The country’s dancing queen Mary Moraa is focused on a gold medal for Kenya after a stellar storm to victory in her Heat 3 during the 800m semi-final on Friday night.

The Commonwealth champion is looking to improve her bronze medal in Eugene last year and join the list of Kenya’s glorious women in 800m.

Moraa cruised 1:58.48 to win Heat 3 ahead of USA’s Athing MU, who ran 1:58.78. Uganda's Halimah Nakaayi clocked 1:58.89.  She is the lonely Kenyan in the two-lap race final.

“I am going into the final knowing that it will be tough. The main focus will be to control the pace. I am prepared for the final and I hope to be in good shape. I will be thankful for any medal but the focus is gold,” Moraa said ahead of the final.

Apart from Mu (USA) and Nakaayi (Uganda), Moraa will be contesting for the top honours with Adelle Tracey of Jamaica and Raevyn Rogers of USA among others in the women’s 800m catfight.

After Moraa’s expected dance, women’s 3000m steeplechase World Record Holder Beatrice Chepkoech, a gold medal prospect will be leading Kenyan charges in regaining glory after the many misses in the 2023 World Championships.

Observers say all eyes will be on Chepkoech, a star steeplechaser who is returning to form after a nagging injury.

With World Under-20 champion Faith Cherotich and Commonwealth champion Jacline Chekoech, the 2019 World Champion will be in good company in the 3000m steeplechase - a race set to blaze the National Athletics Centre tracks.

Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganda, Sembo Almayew of Ethiopia, and Frenchwoman Alice Finot are among the women in the 3000m steeplechase mix tonight.

"I prepared well for this championship and I am ready for the final. I am happy because we all qualified for the final. We are strategizing for a clean podium sweep. We are hoping for the best,” Chepkoech said.

By yesterday, Kenya had three medals, a gold from Faith Kipyegon in 1500m, a silver in the men’s 10000m from Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, and a 3000m steeplechase bronze won by Abraham Kibiwott.

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