Obiri, Manangoi set to light up Doha DL
Freshly minted Commonwealth champions Hellen Obiri and Elijah Manangoi return to competitive action on Friday at the opening round of the Diamond league Series in Doha.
Olympic silver medalist Obiri who won the 2017 5000m DL trophy will begin her title defence at the Qatari capital where she is targeting to improve 3000m personal best (PB) of 8:20.68.
The World champion said she hopes to put up an ‘exciting’ show as the fastest woman in the track and will face stiff competition from American Jenny Simpson who is the second fastetd tin the field with an 8:29.58 PB.
The 2015 Beijing 3000m steeplechase World champion Hyvin Kiyeng (9:07.51), 2015 World Cross Country champion Agnes Tirop (8:35.23), former World U-20 champion Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui (8:51.28), World Cross Country Championships Bronze medallist Lilian Kasait (8:32.73) and Norah Jeruto (9:24.02) will also be gunning for the top honours.
“I have rested for 10 days since I competed at Gold Coast, Australia. It’s a challenge to stay at the top as the defending champion and I know everyone will be trying to beat me but it’s not going too easy for them.
“I will use this race to test on what I need to improve on so that I can be in a similar shape that I was in last year. I have been doing a lot of loading but I need to check on my speed,” Obiri said.
In the men’s 800m, World 1,500m champion Manangoi will test his speed against DL trophy holder Ferguson Rotich but talented youngster Kipyegon Bett, the World 800m Bronze medallist could pull an upset.
Current African record holder Emmanuel Kipkurui and two-time World silver medallist Adam Kszczot of Poland are also among those to look out for in the field.
After falling ill on the eve of the 2017 World Championships in London, former World 800m winner Eunice Sum returns to the track where she will face two time Olympic and three time World champion Caster Semenya in the women’s 1,500m.
Other Kenyans in the race include African bronze medallist Emily Cherotich Tuei, All-African Games Silver medallist and Winny Chebet whose title quest at the Commonwealth Games came to an unceremonious end after she was tripped during the heats.
In the non Diamond League races, the men’s 3000m steeplechase will be an East African affair as World Under 18 champion George Managoi will compete against London Olympics bronze medallist Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco in the 1,500m as part of his preparation for the IAAF World Under 20 Championships in Tampere, Finland scheduled for July 10-15.
2018 IAAF Diamond League calendar
4 May – Doha, QAT
12 May – Shanghai, CHN
26 May – Eugene, USA
31 May – Rome, ITA
7 Jun – Oslo, NOR
10 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
30 Jun – Paris, FRA
5 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
13 Jul – Rabat, MAR
20 Jul – Monaco, MON
21-22 Jul – London, GBR
18 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
30 Aug – Zurich, SUI
31 Aug – Brussels, BEL
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