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Asbel vs Kenenisa tops Edinburgh bill

ASBEL-KIPROP-WINEDINBURGH, January10- Double world 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop, will clash with Ethiopian legend and headliner, Kenenisa Bekele, at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country, an IAAF Cross Country Permit, on Saturday.

Held at Holyrood Park, venue of the 2008 World Cross, Kiprop who won the junior title in 2007 will be making his first outing in 2014 against the six-time senior winner who is returning to form after a two year spell on the sidelines.

Kiprop won gold medals over 1500m at the 2008 Olympic Games and 2011 World Championships before retaining his title last year in Moscow.

The 24-year-old knows Holyrood Park well, having raced there twice before. In 2011 he finished second, then one year later he won the 3km race, beating Bekele.

Bekele will be treading the same soil that played host to his 11th and most recent world cross gold medal

The 31-year-old Ethiopian was victorious at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country three times in a row from 2006 to 2008, but more recently he has suffered two defeats, finishing fourth in 2010 and 11th in 2012.

This will be Bekele’s sixth appearance at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country and he will be keen to even the balance on his score sheet in the Scottish capital.

The other top contenders include his younger brother Tariku.

Kenyan born Turkish athlete, Polat Kemboi Arikan will face the Ethiopian might in the corresponding women 6km race.

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Meanwhile, Kenya intends to field teams in all five events at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in Nassau in May.

The relay disciplines being contested in the capital of The Bahamas on 24-25 May are the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1500m.

“We are very determined to do well in the categories we have entered for,” Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo told national press.

“We hope to constitute a strong team that will make the rest of the world feel our presence in the short distance competitions this time round.”

A series of qualification meetings will be held around Kenya between March and April with an official trial event being held in Nairobi on 26 April.

“We want to show the world that Kenyans are not only a force in the middle and long distance but also relays competitions,” said AK president Isaiah Kiplagat.

Kenya holds the world record for the men’s 4x800m at 7:02.43, set in Brussels in 2006, and the 4x1500m at 14:36.23, set in 2009 also in Brussels.

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