Ugandan quartet braces for Kip Keino Classic

Saturday September 18 2021
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Top gun. Chemutai will lead Ugandan team. PHOTO/AFP

By Allan Darren Kyeyune

Last month, Africa hosted its biggest athletics event – the World U20 Championships – Nairobi, Kenya, and the hosts topped the medal standings.

And some four weeks later, Kenya will host another big track and field athletics event when they stage the Kip Keino Classic for the second time.

In 2020, many African athletes graced the event named after four-time Olympic medallist Kipchoge Keino as the available stage to compete after coronavirus disruptions.

This time, many stars, including Olympic champions from the Tokyo Games, will wrap up their season at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi today.

Uganda is represented by the quartet led by 3000m steeplechase Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai. She will compete over the water-jump race, nine days after finishing seventh in the Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland.

Chemutai, who is yet to recover from the Tokyo drain, posted 9:20.16 in Zurich and with a less competitive field in Nairobi, an improvement is not guaranteed.

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However, she has a big test. “It’s (the event) at an altitude of 1800m and that means a fast time is not possible. And because of that, finishing as high as possible will be the goal,” said her coach Addy Ruiter.

The same about altitude applies for Prisca Chesang. The 18-year-old was disqualified but later reinstated to bag 5000m bronze at Kasarani on August 22, Uganda’s only medal at the World U20.

Then friends-turned-sisters Winnie Nanyondo in the 1500m and world 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi will hope to take better places than the respective seventh and fifth finishes they got in Zurich.

The Keino Classic has also set up impressive home boy Ferdinand Omanyala against American pair of three-time world champion Justin Gatlin and 2021’s fastest man Trayvon Bromell over the 100m.

Similarly, Nanyondo will compete against home girl Faith Kipyegon, the Olympic champion who beat Dutch girl Sifan Hassan to the 1500m DL trophy in Zurich last week.

About

The Kip Keino Classic is a track and field meeting held at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya and named after Olympian Kipchoge Keino. The inaugural edition took place in 2020 as part of the inaugural World Athletics Continental Tour.

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