Chepkoech eyes another win as Kenyans chase glory in China

Beatrice Chepkoech on way to winning the 5000m Women Final during 3rd AK Track and Field weekend meeting at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on 27, 2024. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Athletics superstars are set for another thrilling Diamond League showdown at the Shanghai/Suzhou meeting on Saturday.

A rich field has been assembled for super speeds in the second leg of the Diamond League circuit in China.

Kenyan big shots will be off to flying starts as they vie for top places, with strong opposition from some of the world’s decorated track stars.

From the star-studded fields, warning shots are set to be fired at the Shanghai/Suzhou contest - ahead of the Paris Olympics in July/August.

World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will be in the Shanghai/Suzhou show to attempt to stamp her authority once again, as she steadily makes a return to the top.

The cat-fight will be between Chepkoech, a former world champion and Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganda.

Last Saturday in the first meet this season in Xiamen, also in China, Chepkoech took the 3,000m steeplechase title in style, while Chemutai was third.

Commonwealth Games champion Jackline Chepkoech, who dipped under nine minutes last year, and 2017 world champion Emma Coburn as well as two-time European champion Gesa Krause will also feature in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase race.

African Under-20 gold medallist Fancy Cherono and World Under-20 silver medallist Sembo Almayew of Ethiopia are also eyeing glory in the steeplechase event.

Rising star, Faith Cherotich will be competing for the first time in 5,000m at the senior level.

The world 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist will face former world-record-holder Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia in what is expected to be an exciting challenge.

Cherotich is the 2023 World Athletics Rising Star of the Year while Gidey is the 2022 10,000m world champion, who still holds the world record over that distance.

Cherotich was second behind Chepkoech in the steeplechase contest at last weekend’s Diamond League meeting in Xiamen.

In the men’s 5,000m, World Cross Country bronze medallist Benson Kiplangat will have the company of countryman Ronald Kwemoi, a Commonwealth silver medallist and Samwel Chebolei.

The former World Under-20 5,000m champion will be squaring it out with 10,000m Olympic champion Selemon Barega.

The 5,000m men’s fast field also has Barega’s compatriot, steeplechase superstar Lamecha Girma as well as Uganda’s Dan Kibet, an African Under-20 gold winner.

Girma, who set the 3000m steeplechase world record in Paris last year, just a few months after chipping over a second off Daniel Komen’s world 3000m indoor record which had stood for over 25 years will be racing alongside his brother Kuma Girma.

Participants will be looking to break the 13-minute barrier.

Double Commonwealth champion Wycliffe Kinyamal will be out to prove a point in the men’s 800m. He is one of the decorated two-lap athletes in the field.

Kinyamal has won six times at Diamond League meetings, five of the triumphs under 1:44.

He lost to World Champion Marco Arop of Canada in the first leg, last Saturday.

He will have the company of World Under-20 silver medallist Alex Kipngetich and Elias Ngeny.

The Kenyan trio will face Djamel Sedjati of Algeria.

Sedjati won two Diamond League meetings in 2023.  

Christian Coleman takes on Fred Kerley in the 100m.

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