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Mercy Cherono basks in the Nairobi National Park breeze, a day before the Kip Keino Classic.

Athletics

Mercy Cherono hopes to use Kip Keino Classic as marker for Olympic hunt

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Former Commonwealth Games champion Mercy Cherono hopes competing at Saturday’s Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi will lay a marker for her as she plans to make an assault for a place in Team Kenya ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Cherono has been out for a while on maternity leave, coming just after picking up an injury, but having worked her way to fitness, hopes she can start on her road to the top once again.

“I have really worked hard in training over the past year and I believe I am in good shape now. My body feels okay and I am ready to compete again at the top,” Cherono told Capital Sport.

On Saturday, she will compete in the 1500m race, out of the comfort of her favorite 5,000m as she looks to test her speed and endurance.

She will be the most high profile figure in the field but will expect stiff competition from African Games champion Wuinny Chebet who is the fastest among the 10 starters.

“It will be a very tough field to be honest but I am ready because I have prepared well. I want to test my speed with the 1500m race and that’s why I decided to register for it and see how my shape is. My focus is next year’s Olympics and though I have not decided which races yet I will run in, I have to look at myself and see how strong I am,” Cherono added.

The field in the discretionary event will be loaded with Kenyans but will also have three foreigners. World Under-18 Champion Hailu Lemlem will return to Kenya hoping for second time victory having clinched the 1500m title at the World Championship held at the Kasarani Stadium in 2017.

Another Ethiopian joining the list is Axumawit Embaye, the 2014 World Indoor silver medalist. Tanzania’s Grace Jackson will be the third foreigner on the field.

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