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Kipyegon looks to clear title defense course

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon celebrates after winning the final of the women’s 1,500m at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London on August 7, 2017

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Defending champion Faith Kipyegon will look to book a slot in the final of the 1500m on the seventh day of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha Qatar, in one of the two races involving Kenyans.

Kipyegon easily sailed to Thursday night’s semi after finishing second in Wednesday’s heats and will lead compatriot Winny Chebet as they look to earn a slot in the final and add to Kenya’s medal tally for the Championships.

“I am thankful I ran the heats well and now I expect good things in the semi finals. It will be a tough race because I know most people are in good shape but I will do my best to ensure that I am in the final,” Kipyegon said after finishing second to Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan in Wednesday’s semi.

Hassan, the Diamond Trophy winner already has a Doha medal wrapped around her neck after clinching the 10,000m gold and is looking for the double just like she did in the Diamond League season when she won both the 1500m and 5,000m.

Defending 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon will team up with Winny Chebet for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photo/Timothy Olobulu

Kipyegon, who has raced sparingly this season after a hamstring strain slowed down her return from maternity, is however upbeat that she has what it takes to sustain the tempo of the former Ethiopian runner and retain her crown.

“I ran in Eugene and won before the hamstring but I feel that I have now recovered well. Sifan is very strong season as well as Laura (Muir) and Simpson (Jenny). But I expect to do well and I am determined as well,” she stated.

The sentiments were shared by compatriot Chebet.

“It will be tough and we saw how the heats were but we will work hard. The likes of Sifan and Laura are in good form but we can work together to win something. Personally I want to be on the podium,” she stated.

The race will gun off at 11pm. Prior to that, the men will get down to the track at 10pm in the heats.

-Men’s 1500m Heats-

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George Manangoi is congratulated by training partner Timothy Cheruiyot after he finished third in the national trials at the Nyayo National Stadium on September 13, 2019 to earn a spot in Kenya’s team for the IAAF World Championships. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In the absence of defending champion Elijah Manangoi, the bookies will tip his training partner and Diamond Trophy champion Timothy Cheruiyot to carry Kenya’s hopes of a medal in the race.

Cheruiyot has twice in a row, in the London Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games failed to beat Manangoi, coming second to him. However, this time round he will be going for a first ever Championship medal.

Also in the race is Manangoi’s junior brother George who is the World Under-18, Under-20 and Africa Games champion. He will race in the first heat while Cheruiyot will battle in heat two alongside youngster Kumari Taki.

The fourth Kenyan in the race, Ronald Kwemoi will compete in heat three. The top three earn automatic qualification to the semi-finals and will be joined by the top six best finishers off the top three.

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