NAIROBI, Kenya, September 7- Vivian Cheruiyot, Asbel Kiprop and Ezekiel Kemboi will wipe off the gold dust from the just concluded World Championships in Daegu to race for Diamond League honours in the Zurich finals on Thursday.
Cheruiyot, who became the first Kenyan to complete the 5000m/10000m double is a podium finish away from retaining her women 5000m Diamond Trophy.
She leads the standings on 12 points and her closest rival, 5000m bronze winner; Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar (8) not on the start list, a top three finish will suffice.
Cheruiyot nonetheless faces a deep field in the final, with the challengers lead by her bridesmaids in Daegu, Sylvia Kibet (5000m) and Sally Kipyego (10000m) in addition to Linet Masai whom she dethroned from the 25-lap race throne.
World 3000m junior champion, Mercy Cherono (fifth, 5000m), Priscah Jepleting (fourth 10000m) and Purity Cherotich complete the Kenyan charge in this race.
Ethiopians Meselech Melkamu and Sentayehu Ejigu as well as American Sharlane Flanagan, Turkey’s Alemitu Bekele and Russia’s Yelena Zadorozhnaya are other runners in the line-up capable of tossing in a good shift.
Kiprop, who delivered Kenya’s first ever men metric mile gold in Daegu has a five point cushion over his nearest rival, Haron Keitany, the African champion from 2008 in the Diamond Race in the men 1500m and is poised to hold on to his elite circuit running crown since the winner can only be awarded four.
But he has all to prove as the official world best in men 1500m running with another scintillating showdown with Daegu silver winner, Silas Kiplagat, on the cards.
Kiplagat went public with the assertion that he could not understand how Kiprop won ahead of him in Korea, igniting a rivalry that has all the bearings of an epic.
Keitany, former world leader, Nixon Chepseba and Daegu semi finalist, Daniel Kipchirchir Komen and 2006 Commonwealth champion, Augustine Choge are the other Kenyans in the men’s metric mile race.
World 800m silver winner, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, Morocco’s Abdelaati Iguider and Mohammed Moustaoui, Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Gebremedhin and USA’s Nick Symmonds are the other key challengers.
With Worlds silver winner, Brimin Kipruto having returned home, men 3000m steeplechase winner, Ezekiel Kemboi will not face any podium finisher in the water and barrier’s race since France’s bronze winner, Mekhissi Bennabad is also not fielding.
Paul Kipsiele Koech, who leads the Diamond standings on 13 points, will be keen to prove a point after missing the Daegu party and he is set to sew up his circuit title with his closest challenger, Kipruto who is on 10 opting out.
Kemboi (eight) will be going for victory to rubber stamp his status as the new world champion. After fading to seventh in Daegu, Commonwealth and Africa champion, Richard Mateelong will also be seeking a winning tonic to wrap the season.
World junior champion, Jonathan Muia, Abraham Chirchir, a finalist in Korea, Haron Lagat and Hillary Yego are the other Kenyans in the race.