Early chance to grab Olympic tickets for Kibet, Chelimo

Paris is in sight for Chelimo. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

An understandable level of naivety was on show as he competed over the 3000m during the World Athletics U20 Championships in Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Three years ago, Dan Kibet made his bow at the international athletics stage.

An understandable level of naivety was on show as he competed over the 3000m during the World Athletics U20 Championships in Kenyan capital Nairobi.

His coach Addy Ruiter spoke highly of him at the time but expectations weren’t equally elevated. Fast forward, Kibet has had a much respectable start to his first year as a senior runner.

He came second behind Jacob Kiplimo during the National Cross-country Championships in Tororo on February 10 before winning a senior team silver medal during the World Athletics Cross-country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on March 30.

Kibet will on Saturday hope to step up the gears and aim for a ticket to the Paris Olympics when he lines-up for the men’s 5000m race during the Wanda Diamond League season opener in Xiamen, China today.

The 20-year-old is in pursuit of hitting the qualifying standard time of 13 minutes and five seconds over the 12-and-a-half-lap race inside the Xiamen Egret Stadium. “I am ready,” Kibet told said early this week. “My body is feeling good.”

Kibet trains with senior counterparts like Joshua Cheptegei and marathon duo of Victor Kiplangat and Stephen Kissa at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kapchorwa.

He showed his potential when he won the 5000m gold medal during the Africa U20 Athletics Championships in Ndola, Zambia last May.

During the World Cross-country edition in Bathurst, Australia earlier in 2023, Kibet narrowly missed an individual junior men’s race medal in fourth place.

A spate of injuries has hampered a smooth trajectory. He however feels he is in the best shape. “Sure, the way I see my body now, (it is) not like even last year. There are some changes,” he added.

“Dan is having for the first time in his career a long period without injuries,” said Ruiter. “The talent was always there. The goal is to improve his personal best (PB) because he is better than ever,” the Dutch tactician added.

Kibet’s PB over the 5000m distance is at 13:16.31 posted in Oordegem, Belgium last year and improving it now appears to be in touching distance.

Kibet is entered alongside Ugandan compatriot Oscar Chelimo, who won bronze during the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA two years ago.

Kiplimo’s half-brother Chelimo, 22, couldn’t compete perfectly last season because of injuries. He couldn’t complete the 5000m during the Budapest Worlds in Hungary last August because of a hamstring issue.

Chelimo competed and finished second in two cross-country races in Italy at the start of the year and perhaps, it could be a signal that he is ready to pursue a second career Olympics ticket.

That race tempo will be dictated by the field which has 2019 world champion Ethiopian Edris Muktar and then his country-mate Nibret Melak - the 10000m gold medallist at the recent African Games in Ghana - who has the fastest PB at 12:54.22.



2pm: Peruth Chemutai (Women’s 3000m Steeplechase), Winnie Nanyondo (Women’s 1500m), Oscar Chelimo & Dan Kibet (Men’s 5000m)


4pm: Shida Leni (Women’s 400m), Halimah Nakaayi (Women’s 800m), Nowel Cheruto (Women’s 1500m), Esther Chebet (Women’s 5000m), Nancy Chepkworui (Women’s 3000m Steeplechase), Tom Dradriga (Men’s 800m), Jacob Sande (Men’s 1500m), Elphas Ndiwa (Men’s 3000m Steeplechase)