Star-studded cast for Kip Keino Classic raises expectations

Kenya's Hellen Obiri celebrates after winning the women's 5,000 metres event during the Diamond League Athletics Meeting at The Louis II Stadium in Monaco on August 14, 2020.

Photo credit: Guillaume Horcajuelo | AFP

What you need to know:

  • We are headed into the final week ahead of the historic showpiece and things are shaping up well
  • Nyayo National Stadium is ready to host the prestigious event, thanks to the President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ministry of Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Principal Secretary, Joe Okudo
  • World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto faces a stern test in the 5,000m as he competes against Ethiopian quartet of world champion Edris Muktar, Telahun Haile, Solomon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet


I dare say, we are almost there. I am talking about the Kip Keino Classic, Nairobi’s leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour.

We are headed into the final week ahead of the historic showpiece and things are shaping up well.

Yes! The Nyayo National Stadium is ready to host the prestigious event, thanks to the President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ministry of Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Principal Secretary, Joe Okudo.

From left: Athlete Leonard Bett, Olympian Kipchoge Keino, athlete Mary Moraa, Sports CS Amina Mohamed and athlete Mercy Cherono during the launch of the Kip Keino Classic on September 21, 2020 at Riadha House in Nairobi.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

Of course, there are bound to be a few hiccups but that is normal, especially when you are organising a huge event like this.

But as they say, a successful athletics event is determined by the calibre of runners it attracts and, yes, the list for the Kip Keino Classic reads like the “who is who” is global athletics circles.

Locally, world and Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto leads the way and his showdown with Moroccan arch-rival Soufiane El Bakkali in the October 3 event will be one of the several match-ups that will be keenly followed.

Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali celebrates after winning the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase event during the Diamond League Athletics Meeting at The Louis II Stadium in Monaco on August 14, 2020.


Photo credit: Valery Hache | AFP

Kipruto leads a star-studded Kenyan cast of athletes for the water jump event, others including Abraham Kibiwott, Leonard Bett, Geoffrey Kipkemboi, Wilberforce Kones and Lawrence Kipsang.

World and Commonwealth Games’ 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri is also in the mix and has fast-rising Burundian Francine Niyonsaba to contend with, besides fellow Kenyans Sheila Chepkirui, World Under-20 Championships 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet, world 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop, Margaret Kipkemboi, Gloria Kite and Eva Cherono.

World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot, who has been in fine form in the shortened Diamond League circuit, takes on Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia and Akbache Mounir of France.

Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen (centre), Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot (right) and Australia's Stewart McSweyn compete in the men's 1,500 metres event during the Diamond League Athletics Meeting at Stockholm stadium on August 23, 2020.

Photo credit: Jonathan Nackstand | AFP

World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto faces a stern test in the 5,000m as he competes against Ethiopian quartet of world champion Edris Muktar, Telahun Haile, Solomon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet.

World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Cellihine Chespol has been entered for the steeplechase event, where she takes on Australia’s Gregson Genevieve and Ireland’s Michele Finn.

Others in the race are Mercy Chepkurui, Fancy Cherono, Norah Jeruto and Rosefline Chepng'etich.

Africa senior 1,500m champion Winny Chebet faces off against Ethiopian duo of Emabaye Axumawit and Dawit Seyaum in the event with former Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Mercy Cherono making a welcome return to the track after a long hiatus.

I can’t just wait. See you at Nyayo National Stadium on October 3!

barnabakorir@yahoo.com