Kinyamal and Simiu set for Brussels meet

Daniel Simiu training at Moi International stadium ahead of the 19th edition of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Aug 14, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

It will be another evening of thrilling action as global stars assemble for the Brussels Diamond League, the second last meet in the 2023 circuit.

Top guns are this evening expected to display their athletics prowess in Belgium ahead of the finals in Eugene, USA from September 16 to 17.

Kenyan stars are ready to show their might at the Allianz Memorial Van Damme showdown.

Fresh from a surprise 10,000m silver medal at the 2023 Budapest World Championships last month, Daniel Ebenyo Simiu will this evening be vying for a top seat in the 25-lap race.

World silver medallist Stanley Waithaka Mburu, who did not take part in the selection for the Budapest23 show following an injury is also eyeing glory in the men’s 10,000m.

“There is still a lot in store for me,” a buoyed Simiu had said after the 2023 World Championships.

Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli and Benard Kibet will also be in the 10,000m stellar cast.

The Kenyan men will face Belgian Bashir Abdi and Ethiopians; World Under-20 winner Addisu Yihune and African Under-20 silver medallist Ayele Tadesse.

Abdi told Wanda Diamond League that he was determined to break Mohammed Mourhit’s 24-year-old Belgian national record in the 10,000m at the 47th Allianz Memorial Van Damme.

On top of the national best time, the homeboy will be targeting the European record held by Mo Farah.

“The 10,000m has never been a specific goal for me. Even now everything is focused on the Olympic marathon in Paris next year, but that Belgian Record and European Record in the 10,000m is now a nice intermediate goal.

“I have been training specifically for speed lately on the track. That’s necessary for this record attempt. But if you want to run a fast marathon, you also have to maintain your speed. 80 percent of my preparation is the same for a marathon as for a 10,000m,” the Olympic and world marathon bronze medallist told Wanda Diamond League.

World Under-20 1,500m champion and two-time Diamond League winner Abel Kipsang will be facing double 5,000m world champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway in the 2,000m show.

Two-time Commonwealth champion Wyclife Kinyamal and Collins Kipruto will be battling for top honours in 800m.

The women’s 1,500m contest will feature among others former World Under-20 champion Purity Chepkirui and Nelly Chepchirchir.

The Allianz Memorial Van Damme has a rich history, dating back to 1977. The meet has, since 2017, been inducting athletes who have produced jaw dropping performances in Brussels, into its Hall of Fame.

Last year, Kenyan legends – multiple world cross country champion Paul Tergat and 5,000m gold medallist Daniel Komen were inducted into the Allianz Memorial Van Damme Hall of Fame.

Tergat was honoured for clinching three 10,000m victories at the Memorial in seven appearances. In 1997, he set a world record (new record is held by Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda) at the King Baudouin Stadium, and he followed it up with two more 10,000m wins in Brussels in 1998 and 2000.

Komen on the other hand made 11 appearances at the Memorial and took four wins, with his 1997 world record in the 5000m as a highlight on the same evening as Tergat’s 10,000m world record.   He also took the world title that year at the same distance.

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