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Koech, Chemutai chase Prague 10km crown

Fancy Chemutai in action at the Birell Grand Prix

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Sep 6 – Kenyans Geoffrey Koech and Fancy Chemutai lead the fields at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10km, an IAAF Gold Label road race, in the Czech capital on Saturday.

On the men’s side, the main draw is Koech, who clocked 27:18 in this race last year, the 13th fastest performance of all time, to finish second. More recently the 26-year-old finished fourth at the Prague Half Marathon in April, clocking 1:00:30.

He’ll face compatriot Vincent Kiprotich Kibet, who produced a 27:21 run to win in Berlin just over one year ago. Kibet, who turned 20 in March, has shown good form this year too, clocking 27:35 to win in Wurzburg in April and 27:24.09 on the track in July.

But perhaps in most impressive form is 22-year-old Ethiopian Jemal Yimer, who set his 27:54 best on the roads in Prague in 2017 before racing to the African 10,000m title in Asaba, Nigeria, last year.

Yimer broke the Ethiopian record in the half marathon in Valencia last October, clocking an impressive 58:33. In July, he finished fifth in the Ethiopian 10,000m trials race for the World Championships in Hengelo, clocking 26:54.39, a lifetime best.

Others to watch include Kenya’s Benard Kimeli, the winner of the Prague Half Marathon earlier this year, and Vedic Kipkoech, who improved his 10km best to 27:25 in Valencia in January.

On the women’s side, Chemutai, the third fastest woman of all time on the roads with 30:06, will be looking to break the event’s 30-minute barrier.

Chemutai turned in that performance in Prague in 2017 when she chased Joycilene Jeppkosgei who eventually shattered the world record with her extraordinary 29:43 run. Chemutai, 24, impressed in Boston in June, winning a 10km there in 30:36.

She’ll face 20-year-old Gloria Kite, who went even faster this year, clocking 30:26 in Valencia in January and currently sits in the No.9 position on the world all-time list.

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Steeplechase standout Norah Jeruto, who beat world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech at the IAAF Diamond League stop in Oslo in June, could also be a factor.

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