What you need to know:
- The pre-event press conference was attended by the Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo, Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei and Kip Keino Classic Meet director Barnaba Korir.
Tokyo Olympics medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from Jamaica and Namibia’s Christine Mboma opted not to exchange barbs at the pre-event press conference, only leaving their performances to talk in the women's 100m race on Saturday.
However, on the other hand, Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, Peruth Chemutai from Uganda warned her Kenyan rivals to prepare for a beautiful race on her return to the Kip Keino Classic.
Three-time Olympic hammer throw champion Anita Wlodarczyk (women) and Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki (men) all from Poland are hoping for a good start to their season in Kenya.
“As I said before, competing against strong opponents like Mboma will always bring out the “A” game in me. I am happy to see youngsters like Mboma coming up, which is quite an assurance that sprints will stay alive,” said Fraser-Pryce, the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic 100m champion.
Fraser-Pryce, who won gold in 4x100m and silver in 100m at the Tokyo Olympics Games, said that she came to Kenya to repay her fans, who really wanted her to compete at the Kip Keino.
“I want to repay that with a promise of a good, exciting and fast race of course. I will execute my technique the best way possible to make sure I get my core times and targets,” said Fraser-Pryce, who has personal best 10.60 seconds.
“Every race is different and each offers a different recipe,” said Fraser-Pryce, who hopes to run 10.50 or 10.40 seconds this year as she progresses to the World Athletics Championships in July this year and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Mboma paid tribute to Fraser-Pryce as a legend and role model. “She is a great inspiration. I grew up dreaming of competing like her and here I am competing against her. It’s a great honour,” said Mboma, the World Under-20 200m champion. Mboma has a personal best 10.97 secs.
Kenya’s Maximilla Imali fancied her chances competing against some of the world’s greatest sprinters.
Besides Fraser-Pryce and Mboma, Imali, who set a new national 100m record of 11.35 seconds when reclaiming her national title on April 28 at Kasarani, will also have several other sprinters to contend with.
Shannon Ray (US, 11.24), Bassant Hemida (Egypt, 11.12), and Rani Rosius (Belgium, 11.33) and Patrizia Van der Weken (11.50) are also in the 100m line up.
“It won’t be about winning but to hit the qualifying standard of 11.15 seconds for the World Championships,” said Imali.
Chemutai will face among others, defending champion Celliphine Chespol who won last year after timing 9:30.55 ahead of her compatriot Fancy Cherono (9:32.50). “I am excited to be back here after I finished sixth in 2020. I have prepared well and I hope for a win,” said Chemutai.
Also in the mix are 2014 Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Purity Kitui and Kenyan-born Kazakhstan Norah Jeruto.
There is also the Ethiopian legion of Gebregiwrgs Atsbeha, Almayew Sembo Welteji, Meseret Birhan Welteji and Ansa Weynshet Weldetsadik.
Mboma will double up in the women's 200m where Kenya’s Millicent Ndoro will be fielding.
It will also be a good opportunity for the national hammer throw champion Lucy Omondi and her compatriot Roselyn Rakamba to improve their standards in women’s hammer throw.
It’s an event where the Olympic champion Wlodarczyk, who holds the world record of 82.29m, will be aiming to throw 74m or 75m. “This marks the start of my season and I don’t want to be ambitious, “said Wlodarczyk.
Defending champion Mary Moraa will take on world champion Halima Nakaayi in women's 800m, which is one of the Discretionary events with Mery Cherono headlining the women's 5,000m.
The pre-event press conference was attended by the Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo, Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei and Kip Keino Classic Meet director Barnaba Korir.