RABAT, June 12 – Kenyan Javelin superstar , Julius Yego is among top athletes expected to light up the Mohammed VI d’Athletisme IAAF World Challenge meeting in Rabat on Sunday.
At the recent IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, Kenya’s Julius Yego smashed the African javelin record with an almighty world-leading throw of 91.39m, moving him to ninth on the world all-time list.
The performance came under controversial circumstances, however, as it was originally deemed to have landed outside the sector, despite there being no white line to indicate that was the case.
The Commonwealth champion will hope for a more straight-forward outing in Rabat where he will be up against the man whose African record he broke, Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman, and Czech thrower Petr Frydrych.
-Birech faces Koech while Hassan steps down in distance-
Kenyan steeplechaser Jairus Birech likes racing in Morocco. Two of his biggest victories last year, the African Championships and the Continental Cup, came on Moroccan soil.
But compatriot Paul Kipsiele Koech also has fond memories of the North African country. He triumphed in Rabat at the 2009 edition of this meeting in 8:07.80, the fastest steeplechase performance in history on African soil.
The pair have already faced each other three times on the IAAF Diamond League circuit this year with Birech finishing ahead on each occasion, so he will be expected to do the same again on Sunday.
-Cheruiyot aims win-
After finishing third in Eugene, Oregon Diamond League, two-time World Champion, Vivian Cheruiyot will be out to chalk his first international win as she continues her Beijing World Championships National Trials preparations.
Cheruiyot who will contest in the 3000m faces stiff challenge from Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana who produced one of the most surprising performances of the season so far when she cruised to a world-leading 5000m clocking of 14:14.32 in Shanghai last month, making her the third-fastest woman in history.
Cheruiyot will be joined by a trio of quality fellow Kenyans, comprising Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Sally Kipyego, World Cross-Country champion Agnes Tirop and Commonwealth silver medallist Janet Kisa.
Last year’s world leader Silas Kiplagat faces World Junior record-holder Ronald Kwemoi in the men’s 1500m, whilst the women’s event features Anna Mishchenko, winner at the IAAF World Challenge meetings in Kawasaki, Beijing and Ostrava, and Albanian record-holder Luiza Gega.
In the men’s 800m, Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi lines up against world indoor silver medallist Adam Kszczot.