Kenyan track stars search for final sparkle in Oregon

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon reacts after winning the women's 5000m final during the World Athletics Championships at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest on August 26, 2023.
Jewel Samad | AFP

Photo credit: Jewel Samad | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Kipyegon, Moraa, Chebet will be defending their titles at Hayward Field over the weekend
  • Elite World Athletics annual competition concludes in Eugene, USA with  the sport’s creme de la creme colliding  for season’s glory

Kenyan athletes are among some of the world’s finest that will face-off at the Prefontaine Classic, the final of the 2023 Diamond League starting on Saturday and Sunday at Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, United States of America.

The Prefontaine Classic marks the end of this year’s Diamond League that had 13 legs which produced scintillating performances.

The victor in each of the 32 events (16 for men and 16 for women) in the final will once again take home a glittering Diamond Trophy, prize money of $30,000 (Sh4.47m) and the season’s bragging rights ahead of next year’s Paris Olympic Games.

Hayward Field, the championships venue, will bring back nostalgic memories from last year’s World Athletics Championships that was staged at the same facility.

Faith Kipyegon, who has enjoyed a stellar year, smashing three world records in 1,500m, 5,000m and one mile, will lead Kenya’s assault that has world 800m champion Mary Moraa, Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala, and 3,000m and 2,000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech.

World 800m silver medallist Emmanuel Wanyonyi, world 5,000m bronze medallist Beatrice Chebet and world 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Faith Cherotich are the other Kenyan Budapest World Championships medallists in Prefontaine.

Kipyegon, Moraa and Chebet are Diamond League defending champions.

Kipyegon started the season strongly, setting a new world record in 1,500m in a new time of 3 min 49.11 sec in the Florence Diamond League on June 2. She followed it a week later with a stunning 14:05.20 in the 5,000m in Paris on June 9, making her a double world record holder within a week.

She added the one mile world record to her fresh collection with a new time of 4:07.64 in Monaco on July 21.

On the Hayward Field track, Kipyegon, will face Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji whom she relegated  to silver in Budapest, Briton Laura Muir and world indoor 800m bronze medallist Hirut Meshesha from Ethiopia.

Omanyala, who is making history as the first Kenyan to feature in the 100m final, will be hoping to erase his disappointing seventh-placed finish in Budapest with a podium finish. He faces a near similar field that competed at the Budapest men’s final.

The start list includes in-form American Noah Lyles, who claimed double gold - 100m and 200m in Budapest to become the first man to do so since Usain Bolt in 2015.

Others are world 100m silver medallist Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, American 2019 world 100m champion Christian Coleman and Jamaican veteran Yohan Blake, the 2011 world champ and London 2012 silver medallist.

The women’s 800m final on Sunday is a rematch of one of the most exciting final from Eugene and Budapest world championships with Moraa coming up against Briton Keely Hodgkinson and American Athing Mu.

Mu won gold with Hodgkinson and Moraa settling for silver and bronze at Eugene but Moraa turned the tables in Budapest, winning in a personal best time  of 1:56.03 as Hodgkinson and Mu settled for silver and bronze.

In the absence of steeplechase world record holder Lamecha Girma from Ethiopia, world bronze medallist Abraham Kibiwott and compatriots Simon Koech and Amos Serem take the battle to Olympic and world champion Soufiane El-Bakkali on Saturday.

Beatrice Chepkoech, who is also the 2019 world champion, Cherotich and Commonwealth Games champion Jackline Chepkoech will be out to stop Kenya-born world champion Wilfred Yavi from Bahrain on Saturday.

Yavi stunned the Kenyans in Budapest, winning gold as Beatrice and Cherotoch claimed silver and bronze respectively.

On Sunday, another mouth watering rematch will unfold in the 800m final between Wanyonyi and world champion Marco Arop of Canada.

Arop beat Wanyonyi in Budapest but the Kenyan avenged at Xiamen Diamond League, beating Arop to second place in a world lead time of 1:43.20 on September 2.

Also in contention is the Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal who failed to even make the World championship team.

(Kenyan time)


9pm Women’s javelin

9:06 Men’s triple jump

9:08 Men’s high jump

10:04 Men’s 400m hurdles

10:16 Men’s 400m

10:20 Men’s javelin

10:26 Women’s pole vault

10:29 Women’s 3,000m steeplechase

10:49 Women’s triple jump

10:51 Women’s 1,500m

11:07 Men’s 100m

11:11 Women’s shot put

11:19 Men’s 3,000m steeplechase

11:40 Women’s 100m

11:50 Men’s Bowerman Mile


9:40pm Men’s discus

9:48 Men’s long  jump

10:04 Men’s 800m

10:39 Women’s 5,000m

10:57 Men’s pole vault

11:04 Women’s 400m hurdles

11:08 Women’s discus

11:17 Men’s 3,000m

11:37 Women’s 400m

11:42 Women’s long jump

11:52 Men’s 110m hurdles


12:05am Women’s 100m hurdles

12:09 Men’s shot put

12:19 Women’s 800m

12:36 Men’s 200m

12:49 Women’s 200m