Kip Keino Classic test for Chemutai, Nakaayi

In high gear. Chemutai will hope to make the most of the Kip Keino Classic in preparation for the Oregon Worlds. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • Meanwhile, Nakaayi is preparing her world title defence come the Oregon World Championships in the US in July. 

Seven Ugandans led by Olympic steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai will hope to assess their progress thus far during the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kenya, today.

This World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event at Kasarani Stadium will check Chemutai over the seven-and-a-half lap race which she hasn’t gone over since finishing seventh in the Diamond League final in Zürich, Switzerland, last September.

The trip to Nairobi is a big test for Chemutai and world 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi, who will line up over the two-lap race outdoor for the first time this season.

“It is to test which level they are having at the moment. But Nairobi is at 1800m altitude and not every athlete can handle it very well,” said Addy Ruiter, Chemutai and Nakaayi’s coach.

“But I expect a good result from Halimah and Peruth. And for Peruth especially to get rhythm again in the steeplechase.”

Business in endurance 

Chemutai however has been busy on the road. On February 12, she finished third during the senior women’s 10km race at National Cross-country Championships in Tororo.

Then eight days later, the 22-year-old won the CrossCup de Hannut 6.5km in Belgium and checked her endurance further with a second-place finish at the 5km de Lille in France on March 20.

Chemutai, whose national record of 9:01.45 is the ninth fastest time ever, is up against familiar faces like home girl Celliphine Chespol, who is the fifth fastest ever with a personal best of 8:58.78.

Meanwhile, Nakaayi is preparing her world title defence come the Oregon World Championships in the US in July and she is already buoyed by winning the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbi, on March 20.

Nakaayi’s training partner Winnie Nanyondo is used to doing the middle-distance double but at Kasarani, she is entered for the 5000m together with Sarah Chelangat.

“We want to see where Winnie is at, at that distance,” her manager Jurrie van der Velden noted. “Focus will be 1500m for this season but sometimes a different distance is nice for the system and mind.”

Sprinter Shida Leni will again attempt to qualify for Oregon with a target of 51.35 seconds over the 400m. She posted a season best of 52.42 seconds at the Kenya National Championships a week ago.

Ruiter hopes Esther Chebet has shaken off a flu scare to compete over the 1500m while Albert Chemutai is eyeing to beat the qualifying standard of 8:22.00 to Oregon.

KIP KEINO CLASSICE

TODAY | LIVE ON DSTV 230 - 4pm
UGANDANS IN ACTION

Shida Leni    400m
Halimah Nakaayi    800m
Esther Chebet    1500m
Peruth Chemutai    3000m steeplechase
Albert Chemutai    3000m steeplechase
Sarah Chelangat     5000m
Winnie Nanyondo    5000m

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