Kiprop confident of podium sweep as Race Walkers flop


Kenya's Asbel Kiprop (R) competes in the men's 1500m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World ...
Kenya's Asbel Kiprop (R) competes in the men's 1500m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK

Former Olympic gold medallist and 1500m triple defending champion Asbel Kiprop is plotting a first clean podium sweep for Kenya as the curtains come down on the IAAF World Championships in London.

The 10-day global track and field showpiece comes to a close on Sunday at the English capital and Kiprop says he is optimistic Kenya will bag all three available medals in the 1500m final event.

In Elijah Manangoi, Timothy Cheruiyot and Ronald Kwemoi, Team Kenya boasts three of the fastest athletes over the distance this year with Kiprop only the fourth fastest entrant.

“We know how we are going to approach the race but we shall have a talk with our coach. I urge Kenyans to remember us in their prayers,” Kiprop told Citizen Digital.

Kiprop, winner of the past three World championships, will be seeking to match the four successive titles world record-holder Hicham El Guerrouj took from 1997-2003 as he aims to add to the three gold, a sliver and four bronze medals that Kenya already has.

Before Kiprop leads the Kenyan 1500m field, African race walking queen Grace Wanjiru made her global Championship debut early Sunday where she finished 37th in the women’s 20km Race Walk that was won by Chinese Jiayu Yang.

Her compatriots and Africa champion Samuel Gathimba came 30th with Simon Wachira posting a Did Not Finish (DNF) in the corresponding male race walk won by Eider Arevalo of Colombia.

The duo endured equally disappointing outings at the Rio Olympics Games last year after a miscalculation of the rounds hence posted DNFs.

At 9:35pm (EAT), Rio Olympic silver medalist Hellen Obiri will lead her team mates Africa champion Sheila Chepkirui Kiprotich and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi in the hunt for the coveted championship titles at the women’s 5000m final.

The trio will be hoping to emulate Rio Olympic 5000m title holder Vivian Cheruiyot who moved to the marathon and retained her 2015 Beijing World Championship gold medal.

Margaret Nyairera on her part, adds that she now has the much needed championships experience and confidence after winning a bronze medal during last year’s Summer Games in Brazil.

The Olympic bronze medallist believes she has what it takes for her fist podium finish at the championship during the women’s 800m final.

In Beijing she did not make it to the final after ending her medal quest at the semi-finals.

Her biggest competitors will be Olympic champion Caster Semenya who hopes to reclaim the World title last won 2009 in Berlin and Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

 

Sunday, August 13 (EAT)

 

9:30pm Women 5000m Final

10:10pm Women 800m Final

10:30pm Men 1500m Final

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Story By Charity Wanja
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