NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 – The 2019 IAAF World Championships gun off Friday evening at the Khalifa International Stadium in the Gulf city of Doha in Qatar with Kenya looking to replicate its performance of years of always being at the top of world.
The Kenyans will be out to eclipse the performance of 2017 that saw them finish second overall and haul 11 medals, five of them gold.
The team coached by the experienced Julius Kirwa will also look for inspiration from the performance at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, China, four years ago when they finished top of the world.
Here is Kenya’s opening day program for the nine-day championship:
5:10pm – Women’s 800m heats
Eunice Sum will be Kenya’s sole flag bearer in the two-lap race. The 2013 champion and bronze medalist from Beijing in 2015 will look to roll back the years after missing out on the team from 2017 in London. She will race in Heat Two, starting off in lane 8.
Her best time this season is 1:58.99, two seconds off her personal best.
6:55pm – Women’s 3,000m steeplechase heats
With World Record Holder Beatrice Chepkoech earning a Wild Card to the championship due to her Diamond Trophy conquest, Kenya will have four representatives in the women’s water and barrier race.
Chepkoech will start her campaign in Heat Two which guns off at 7:11pm. World Under-18 and Under-20 champion Celiphine Chespol will start off the day for the Kenyans in Heat One.
Hyvin Kiyeng, the champion of the 2015 event and bronze medalist from London 2017 will race in heat three at 7:27pm alongside youngster Fancy Cherono.
7:45pm – Men’s 5,000m heats
With Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiyu being locked out of the championship by the Athletics Integrity Unit, Kenya will have only two representatives in this race with Jacob Krop racing in the first heat while Nicholas Kimeli will compete in the second heat which guns off at 8pm.
11:59pm – Women’s Marathon
Due to the excess heat at this time in Doha, the women’s marathon will be held at midnight when temperatures are cooler. There have been fears that heat waves might affect the race and drastically reduce the pace of the race, but organizers say they have made efficient cooling plans incase of heat.
At the age of 39, Edna Kiplagat will carry Kenya’s hopes in the race as she looks to clinch a record third title having done it in 2011 in Daegu and 2013 in Moscow. She won silver in London 2017.
She is joined in the team by former Milan and Lisbon Marathon champion Visiline Jepkesho who finished 20th in Beijing 2015. Also in the race is two-time Istanbul Marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich.