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Omanyala, Kipyegon lead Kenya’s medal hopes at World Championship, Kipchoge misses out

Athletics Kenya has unveiled the final list of team Kenya that will participate at the World Athletics Championships.

The event will take place from August 19- Sunday, August 27, 2023, in Budapest, Hungary.

The male athletes are Ferdinand Omanyala (100m), Boniface Mweresa(400m), Wiseman Were (400m hurdles); Emmanuel Korir, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Alex Ng’eno, Ferguson Rotich (800m); Timothy Cheruiyot, Abel Kipsang, Reynold Kipkorir (1,500m); Nicholas Kimeli, Jacob Krop, Cornelius Kemboi, Ishamel Kipkirui Rokitto (5,000m) and Nicholas Kimeli, Bernard Kibet, Daniel Simiu (10,000m).

Others are Simon Koech, Abraham Kibiwott, Leonard Bett (3,000m steeplechase), Samuel Gathimba (20km race walk), Ferdinand Omanyala, Boniface Mweresa, Dan Kiviasi, Steve Onyango, Hesbon Ochieng, Samuel Chege (4x100m relay), Wycliffe Kinyamal, Wiseman Were, Kennedy Musyoki, Zablon Ekwam, Kelvin Sawe Tauta and Alex Ngéno (4x400m relay); Titus Kipruto, Timothy Kiplagat. Joshua Belet (marathon) and Julius Yego (Javelin). Notably missing from the marathon athletes is World Champion Eliud Kipchoge due to personal reasons.

The women’s team include Mary Moraa, Peninah Mutisya, Vivian Kiprotich and Naomi Korir(800m),  Faith Kipyegon, Nelly Chepchirchir, Edinah Jebitok (1,500m),  Faith Kipyegon, Beatrice Chebet, Lilian Kasait, Margaret Chelimo (5,000m),  Irene Kamais, Agnes Jebet, Grace Loibach (10,000m), Emily Ngii (20km race walk),  Wiseman Were, Wyliffe Kinyamal, Kennedy Musyoki, Mercy Okech, Maureen Thomas, Millicent Ndoro (4x400m mixed relay) and Rosemary Wanjiru, Selly Chepyego Kaptich, Shyline Jepkorir (marathon).

Of keen interest to Kenyans and the world will be the performances of Ferdinand Omanyala and Faith Kipyegon following their recent world exploits. Mr Omanyala recently warned his competitors that he had finally settled into sprint racing and he was prepared for them.

Omanyala’s star has risen in the past one year with his best performance this season being his win at the Diamond League in Monaco in July 2023. In so doing, Omanyala became the first Kenyan to win a 100m race in the Diamond League. Omanyala, who is also the African champion and record holder (9.77 seconds) over the distance, clocked 9.92 seconds in Monaco to narrowly beat world under-20 champion Letsile Tebogo of Botswana to second place in a tightly contested race.

As for Ms Kipyegon, all eyes are on her after she broke three world records within a short time span. Kipyegon set a new world record in 1,500m on June 3, 2023, after clocking 3:49:11 at the Florence Diamond League in Italy. The previous record of 3:50:07 had been set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2015. A week later (June 10, 2023), she broke the 5,000m world record at Paris Diamond League where she ran 14:05:20, to smash the previous world record of 14:06:62 which was set by Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia in July 2020. In July 2023, she broke the women’s mile World Record at the Monaco Diamond League where she clocked 4:07:64, a record previously held by Sifan Hassan who clocked 4:12:33 four years earlier.

Additionally, Mary Moraa is tipped to win 800m women race while Nicholas Kimeli will double in 5000m and 10000m races and is expected to medal as well. Kenya’s biggest competition will come from Ethiopia, Uganda, Great Britian and the United States of America.

In the 2022 World Athletics Championships that was held in Oregon, USA, Kenya finished the event in fourth position after America, Ethiopia and Jamaica respectively.

The East African nation bagged two gold medals, five silvers and three bronze medals. In the 2019 edition held in Doha Kenya came second after America, bagging five gold, two silver and four bronze medals. It now remains to be seen if their performance will improve and they will rank higher this year.

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