Zakayo to skip All Africa Games, sets sights on World Championships

World Under-20 5000m champion Edward Zakayo has revealed that he may opt out of this year’s All Africa Games in preference for the World Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar in September and October. The Commonwealth Games 5000m bronze medallist notched his first win of the season when he raced to victory at the sixth leg of IAAF Diamond League held on Sunday evening in Rabat, Morocco. Zakayo clocked 13:11.49 ahead of Ethiopia’s Solomon Berihu who came in second in 13:16.08 while Soufiyan Bouqantar of Morocco finished third in 13:17.26. The 17-year-old said although he felt a little unwell while in Morocco, he is happy to register his first win this year after coming in seventh at the Rome meeting despite clocking a new Personal Best (PB) of 13:03.19. “I competed in Rome and although I ran my new Personal Best I was not in my best form at the time. Even today I was not feeling well but I thank God for winning this race. The pace was bit slower but with the help of Ethiopians I pushed and I am contented with that,” Zakayo told Citizen Digital on phone from Morocco. Despite earning an invitation by Athletics Kenya (AK) to attend the trials for All-Africa Games slated for June 20-22, Zakayo said he will not be seeking a ticket to the continental championships in favour of the World Championships. “For me, the World Championships has been a major target since 2017 and I will be glad to make the team. I don’t think I will participate in this week’s Africa Games trials since by then I would not have recovered well. I also feel I am not yet in my top form right now but I wish the best my peers who will be selected to represent our country,” said Zakayo. Elsewhere, Nelly Jepkosgei and Vincent Kibet notched wins in women’s 800m and men’s 1500m respectively in Rabat with Kibet clocking 3:35.80 ahead of Morocco’s Hicham Akankam who came second in 3:35.85 as Alexis Miellet of France came in third in 3:35.98. Jepkosgei clocked 1:59.50 ahead of Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu who clocked 1:59.90 while Olya Lyakhova placed third in 2:00.35. Botswana’s Nigel Amos continued his fine form when he stormed to victory in the men’s 800m stopping the clock in 1:45.57 with Emmanuel Korir settling for the second spot in 1:45.60 with Clayton Murphy of the USA finishing third in 1:45.99. Other Kenyans in the race; Ferguson Rotich placed fourth while Jonathan Kitilit ranked seventh. African High Jump champion Mathew Sawe in his first Diamond League appearance this season managed a 2.28m jump. Ethiopian duo of Getnet Wale and Chala Beyo clocked 8:06.01 and 8:06.48 respectively to spoil Kenya’s party in the 3000m steeplechase as they ranked first and second respectively. Benjamin Kigen the winner of the Rome meet came in third as the World Under-20 3000m steeplechase silver medallist placed fourth.    

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