Rome showdown looms as Diamond League takes shape

Conseslus Kipruto wins the 3000m steeplechase at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)
Conseslus Kipruto wins the 3000m steeplechase at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)

The men’s 3,000m steeplechase and the men’s javelin event will be the showstoppers at the Rome leg of the IAAF Diamond League series race on Thursday at the Olympics Stadium.

It will be a case of the master versus the nemesis turned close associate on track as the ever green two time Olympics and four-time World Champion Ezekiel ‘Baba Yao’ Kemboi takes on Rio Olympics champion Conseslus Kipruto and former All African Games champion Jairus Birech.

The three will not have an easy run against six countrymen led by former all African Games Champion Clement Kimutai Kemboi, former World Junior Champions Amos Kirui, Nicholas Kiptanui Bett and Barnabas Kipyego, as well as Abraham Kibiwott, the African Championships bronze medalist.

The men’s javelin will be a repeat of the Rio 2016 Summer Games as Olympics silver and World Champion Julius Yego prepare to face off with the Germans Thomas Rohler and Johannes Vetter who had motivational throws at the beginning of the series in Doha.

Yego managed a disappointing throw of 81.94m to finish fifth in Doha.He is quick to assure his fans that he would be ready in time to defend his world title during the IAAF World Championships slated forAugust 4-13 in London.

“The season has not been that good but training is okay, technically have not yet picked up everything well, after the injury during the Olympics but I’m sure as time goes by I will pick up. I’m trying to make sure (that) by the time we get to June and July I will be in shape for the World Championships,” said Yego during the National Police Championships held in May in Nairobi.

In Doha, Olympics champion Thomas Rohler set a world lead and a Diamond League record of 93.90m while Johannes Vetter set a personal best of 89.68m. Rio bronze medalist Keshorn Walcott representing Trinidad and Tobago will also join them at the Italian Capital.

“The Germans are doing great led by Thomas and we have about four guys who have 80 and above.  The competition this year is going to be crazy and one ought to prepare well.”

“Though Thomas is the favorite and the man to beat this season, remember in a championship anything can happen. It depends with what one wants whether it’s the Diamond Trophy or the World Championships title. My aim is not to compete with the distance Rohler has after all I have 92.72. My aim is to pick up the right time just before the World Championships,” Yego understated.

Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medalist Hellen Obiri will be seeking a fast time in Rome as she leads 2015 World Cross Champion Agnes Tirop and World X Country silver medalist Irene Cheptai and former World Youth bronze medalist Sheila Chelengat, against their East African Rivals from Ethiopia headed by Genzebe Dibaba, an Olympics silver and a World Champion in the 1,500m event.

After stunning two-time Olympics and two-time World Champion David Rudisha, in Shangai, Kipyegon Bett will be motivated to stamp his authority in the track against Ferguson Rotich, Job Kinyor and Alfred Kipketer in the men’s 800m.

The four will be joined by Beijing World Championships silver medalist Elijah Manangoi, who will be looking for speed after clocking a world lead of 3:31.90 in the 1,500m in Doha.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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