Athletics Athletics

Kiprop, Yego locked-in for Monaco

Asbel Kiprop in Doha. PHOTO/File
Asbel Kiprop in Doha. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, July 7- World champion, Asbel Kiprop and Africa record holder, Julius Yego are among the Kenyan titans confirmed for the glittering Herculis IAAF Diamond League meet in Monaco on July 17.

Commonwealth and Africa titleholder, Caleb Ndiku Mwangangi who is in line to make his eagerly awaited season debut on Thursday after a long injury lay-off is also penned for the men 3000m at the French principality that has stacked fields as usual.

Monaco is one of the favourite stops for Kiprop, the 2011 and 13 world champion in the men’s metric mile and he usually uses the event to lay a marker ahead of major events with the biennial IAAF track and field showpiece running in Beijing next month.

His top three career 1500m times including his smoking 3:27.72 lifetime best were ran at the Herculis meet and the lanky champion will be raring to put on a show at his favourite track having boosted his confidence with a storming 3:51.45 victory over the Mile at the 11 June Bislett Games in Oslo.

There Kiprop, 26, proved his class over a loaded field where he turned the tables on Djibouti archrival Ayanleh Souleiman, who stunned him to both the Continental and African titles last season, relegating him to fourth.

A superior performance at the track where his much-advertised world record bid fell apart to fierce domestic rival and Worlds silver medallist, Silas Kiplagat, will go a long way to underline his credentials for Beijing as he bids to be the first Kenyan to three-peat as world 1500m champion.

Kiprop still ran his season’s best and second fastest career 1500m when he clocked 3:28.45 to Kiplagat’s barnstorming personal best 3:27.64 that was the season’s world lead time.

In 2012, the Daegu and Moscow titleholder finally broke the 3:30 barrier when he won in 3:28.88, before a hamstring injury suffered shortly afterwards robbed him of the chance to successfully defend his Olympics title at that summer’s Games in London.

British double Olympics and world champion, Mo Farah leads the challengers to the favoured Kiprop alongside Commonwealth champion and compatriot, James Kiplagat Magut, New Zealand veteran Nick Willis as well as American dangerous pair Leo Manzano and Matthew Centrowitz.

Former World junior silver medallist and African bronze winner over 800m, Jackson Kivuva, will try out the longer distance as he retraces his footsteps back to the sport following a lengthy lay-off.

-Yego back to business-

Julius Yego in action in Birmingham. Photo/IAAF
Julius Yego in action in Birmingham. Photo/IAAF

Having revelled in a stately welcome following his astonishing 91.93 African record breaking performance in Birmingham, Javelin star Julius Yego is also part of the stellar cast in Monaco where he will check in after making a stop in Lausanne on Thursday.

The Commonwealth and two-time African champion who is keen to make history by becoming the first Kenyan to medal in the field at the Beijing Worlds will face a similar field to the one in Switzerland at the 10th Diamond League event of 2015.

Olympic champion, Kershorn Walcott from Bahamas, World titleholder, Vítězslav Veselý, Finnish star and former World champion, Tero Pitkamaki as well as the man he deposed as Africa record holder, Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman are the men for Yego to beat in Monaco.

Flamboyant Caleb Ndiku Mwangangi who swept to five major honours last season is keen to make up for lost time with the ‘buffalo’ missing the start of the campaign as he regained his fitness from knee surgery.

He will mix it down in the men 3000m competition against the formidable opposition that will give him a fair look into his form in his quest to make Kenya’s Beijing Worlds team at the killer July 31 and August 1 Trials.

Veteran 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, Thomas Longosiwa who is on a purple perch this term, World bronze winner, Isaiah Kiplangat Koech, Edwin Soi who won the third medal at the 2008 Olympics besides America-based livewire, Edward Cheserek complete the imposing Kenyan charge in the race.

Ethiopian pair Muktar Idris who has sparkled in 2015 and Imane Merga are undoubtedly the main threats to their northern rivals with American Ben True the gifted rank outsider.

World Junior and Youth champion, Alfred Kipketer who has thus far failed to live up to his immense promise in his first season as a senior has the formbook against him when he lines up against world champion, Mohammed Aman from Ethiopia and Commonwealth gold medallist, Botswana’s Nijel Amos in the men’s 800m showdown.

Ferguson Rotich, the 2013 Worlds finalist is the other Kenyan in the race expected to be a straight shootout between Aman and Amos with Poland stars, Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski the dark horses.

-Nyambura returns-

Virginia Nyambura (left) and Ethiopia's Hiwot Ayalew in the women 3000m steeplechase race at IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday.
Virginia Nyambura (left) and Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew in the women 3000m steeplechase race at IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday.

After being denied entry for the New York round over visa issues, women 3000m steeplechase sensation, Virgina Nyambura is locked in for Monaco after returning to the circuit in Lausanne on Thursday.

The Diamond Race leader who won in Doha and Birmingham in between finishing second in Rome will renew rivalries with compatriots Hyvin Kiyeng, Worlds silver medallist Lidya Chepkurui and Ann Gathoni besides Ethiopian trio, Birtukan Fente, Sofia Assefa and Hiwot Ayalew.

Nancy Chepkemoi will plough the lone Kenyan furrow in the women 1500m.