Cheptegei, Nanyondo throw last dice in Zurich DL League

Thursday August 29 2019

Cheptegei crosses the tape in the 2-mile run at

Cheptegei crosses the tape in the 2-mile run at the Eugene Diamond League in Junesero. COURTESY PHOTO 

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Ugandan runners Winnie Nanyondo and Joshua Cheptegei will nick history when they debut in the lucrative IAAF Diamond League Final tonight.

After collecting 16 points from four events, Nanyondo will line-up for the women’s 1500m race at the Zurich Diamond League (DL) Meet in Switzerland.

Later on at the Letzigrund, Cheptegei will face arguably his biggest test on track in nearly two years when he features in the 5000m race.
“They are both in a good shape but the field is strong if it is already (like) the final of the World Championships,” the duo’s coach Addy Ruiter told this paper.

“Both will go for the podium and Cheptegei will test his shape,” said Ruiter. A win in Zurich for any of the pair guarantees one a DL trophy and $50,000 (Shs184m) with prize money dropping up to $2,000 (Shs7.4m) for eighth place.

World Cross-country champion Cheptegei collected 14 points from three events in Shanghai, Eugene and Lausanne DL Meets to qualify for the DL Final. Notwithstanding his two-mile victory in Eugene on June 30, Cheptegei has some work to do if he is to head to next month’s Doha World Athletics Championships as a medal contender in the 5000m.

To reach the ultimate prize in this 12-and-a-half-lap race, he must run under 13 minutes, something that six runners in the 17-man field have done this season.
Cheptegei has not run under that time since achieving his personal best of 12:59.83 in Swiss city Lausanne two years ago.

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“When the going gets tougher, you got to trust the process,” Cheptegei said in a recent post via Instagram.
He will face solid Ethiopians including Selemon Barega who aims to defend his DL title and Haile Bekele who broke with a world lead time of 12:52.98 in Rome, Italy on June 6.

Other notable names like Yomif Kejelcha, Hagos Gebrhiwet, American Paul Chelimo and Kenyan Nicholas Kipkorir.
On the other hand, Nanyondo has been the most regular Ugandan on the DL circuit with six races including a third place finish in 800m in the French capital five days ago.

“I am ready,” Nanyondo, who seeks to lower the national record (NR) to a 3:58, told Daily Monitor. She has run four NR this year over the 1500m and the mile.
She as well has big hurdles to skip which include world record holder Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba and Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan who set a new world mile record in Monaco, France on July 12.

NANYONDO AT A GLANCE
Date of Birth: August 23, 1993
Major races: 800m, 1500m
Coach: Addy Ruiter
Personal Best: 1:58.63 (800m), 3:59.56 (1500m)
Major Honour: 2014 Commonwealth bronze (800m)
Kit Sponsor: Adidas
Manager: Jurrie van der Velden

CHEPTEGEI AT A GLANCE
Date of Birth: September 12, 1996
Major Races: 5000m, 10000m
Manager: Jurrie van der Velden
Major Honour: 2014 Commonwealth bronze (800m)
Kit Sponsor: Nike
Personal Bests: 5000m (12:59.83), 10000m (26:49.94)

IAAf ZURICH DIAMOND LEAGUE
TODAY - UGANDANS IN ACTION
*Joshua Cheptegei (5000m)
*Winnie Nanyondo (Women’s 1500m)
LIVE ON SS4, 9PM
DIAMOND LEAGUE FINAL - PRIZE MONEY
1st: $50,000 (Shs184m)
2nd: $20,000 (Shs74m)
3rd: $10,000 (Shs37m)
4th: $6,000 (Shs22m)
5th: $5,000 (Shs18.4m)
6th: $4,000 (Shs14.8m)
7th: $3,000 (Shs11m)
8th: $2,000 (Shs7.4m)

dkyeyune@ug.nationmedia.com

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