Africa-Press – Kenya. Olympic Games 3,000m steeplechase bronze medalist Benjamin Kigen and Africa Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Abraham Kibiwott lead Kenyans to the Diamond League Series opener in Doha, Qatar on Friday evening.
Kigen, who has a personal best of 8:05.12, said he will use Doha as part of his preparations for the Senior Africa Athletics Championships in Mauritius next month.
Kigen and Kibiwott will be joined by former World Under 20 champion Leonard Bett, Hillary Bor and Lawrence Kemboi.
Kigen, who will be featuring in Doha for the third time, said his priority at the moment is to improve his endurance and speed ahead of the continental championships.
“This is my first international race this year and I want to prove a point ahead of a packed calendar that also has World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July. Being the first outing, I want to improve on my personal best,” added Kigen.
Fresh from winning the Kip Keino Classic last Saturday, Kibiwot is optimistic about posting good results on Friday.
Kibiwot, the Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist, is also targeting the World Championships in Oregon and the Club Games in Birmingham.
“Winning at the Kip Keino Classic was an inspiration and I now want to replicate the performance in Doha,” he added.
The Kenyans will face the likes of Moroccan duo of Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Saufiane El Bakkali and Boyassel Abderrafia; Ethiopians Girma Lemecha, Haileselassie Yemene, Wale Getnet, Italian Abdelwahed Ahmed, Denmark’s Hesselbjerg Ole and Finn Raitanen Topi.
In women’s 3,000m, double Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich will lead a strong Kenyan contingent including world cross country junior champion Beatrice Chebet, world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and Africa junior 1,500m silver medalist Ednah Jebitok.
Others are Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, Turkey’s Yasemin Can, Ethiopians Bertukan Welde and Fantu Worku.
Fresh from winning a silver medal in 800m during the World Indoor Championships, Noah Kibet will take on Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal and Olympics silver medallist Ferguson Rotich in the two-lap race.
Others in the race will be Canadian Marco Arop, Abdulrahman Balla, Australia’s Peter Bol, USA’s Erik Siwinski, Great Britain’s Daniel Rowden, and Abdirahman Hassan.
World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot has a date with fellow Kenyans Etyang Kamar, Abel Kipsang and Charles Simotwo in his specialty.
They will also be up against Ethiopians Taddese Lemi, Yomif Kejelcha, Samuel Zeleke, Ali Adam Musab, Australia’s Stewart Mcsweyn and Spaniard Ignacio Fontes.