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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech plans to challenge steeple-
chase world record in Diamond League series

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Olympian Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya is planning an assault on the world 3,000m steeplechase record this year and hopes she can shutter the current mark in the Diamond League series.

The 26-year-old is keen to break the world record of 8:52.87 at either the Monaco or Zurich Diamond League meetings.

“I know I’m in shape, the times on training show. With a race in good circumstances, I will go for the world record again,” said Chepkoech on Sunday.

The Commonwealth Games steeplechase silver medalist on Saturday showed her class when she won the Shanghai Diamond League meeting in China beating compatriot Norah Jeruto.

Though Jeruto slipped on the wet track in a final sprint for the line, Chepkoech showed her power that she can assault the world record as she went for the win.

With nobody standing in her way, Chepkoech didn’t have to push for the win, yet still recorded a world-leading 9:07.27. Jeruto picked herself up for second.

“Let us see how the season goes but I feel the form I carry today can help set a world record. I will let my management work on that as I plan to race at the Africa Championships in August,” she added.

Bahraini Ruth Jebet holds the women’s world record of 8:52.78 from Paris in 2016.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Kenyan Wycliffe  Kinyamal eyes Africa Championships, Diamond League success

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Commonwealth Games 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal of Kenya said Friday that winning the Africa Championships in August will be the best reward for him this season.

Kinyamal, 20, is keen to fit on the shoes of his mentor and Olympic Champion David Rudisha, setting the target of running fast time and winning the continental title to crown off the season that saw him start off with a bang winning the Club Games 800m gold in Gold Coast, Australia.

The Africa Athletics Championships will be held in Asaba, Nigeria in August, from which the best two athletes in each discipline will be selected to run at the IAAF World Cup in Ostrava, the Czech Republic in September.

However, he is aware of the pressure that is mounting for him to deliver gold starting with the Diamond League, which he will debut in Shanghai on Saturday.

“In this business, it is hard to be what everyone wants you to be. But slowly, you do one thing at a time and it piles up. After my win in the Commonwealth Games, people are talking about the Diamond League. Then it will be the Africa Championships,” he said.

“The truth of the matter is, I would like to win the Africa Championships and maybe compete at my best potential for the Diamond League. But most important is to run fast time in Shanghai and see what next is on offer,” he added.

Kinyamal holds a fast time of 1:43.94 and started off the season with a fast run of 1:45.11 in Gold Coast in April.

“I want to improve my personal best time in Shanghai. Running fast is the target then maybe getting to the podium. The challenge is always tough, but I don’t want to put much expectation to myself,” he added.

The Kenyan will launch his Diamond League hunt as the favorite in a race missing some notable names. The Shanghai meet record stands at 1:44.63 and Kinyamal is set his focus on beating it.

Standing in opposition will be Kinyamal’s compatriot Jonathan Kitilit, the second fastest man in the world this year, and experienced Pole Marcin Lewandowski, the World Indoor 1,500m silver medallist in Birmingham in March.

World Indoor 800m silver medalist Drew Windle and his U.S. teammate Clayton Murphy, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, will also look to be in the mix. 

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Kenyan Caroline Tuigong seeks career redemption at Shanghai Diamond League

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s former world junior steeplechase champion Caroline Tuigong of Kenya hopes to redeem her career as she launches her season hunt at the Shanghai Diamond League meet  on Saturday.

The former world youth champion has had problems with her fitness and endured several poor seasons and false starts to her career.

But she believes to have made a turn on her injuries and seeks a successful performance in Shanghai over the water and hurdle race.

The 28-year-old  expects stiff challenge from compatriots Beatrice Chepkoech (8:59.84) and Norah Jeruto (9:03.70), who holds the fastest time in the field that has attracted eight Kenyans out of the 17 elites at the starting lineup.

“Injuries are part of the athletes’ life. However, they have shaped my performances in the last few seasons and I have had to deal with it. But I have had a good training session over three months and am ready to mark my turf starting with Shanghai,” she said on Friday.

In the 1,500m race, world silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot is the favorite in a race that will be without world champion Elijah Manangoi.

He needs to watch out for world indoor champion Samuel Tefera and Moroccan veteran Abdelaati Iguider. The trio are targeting a world lead having skipped the first round of the 14-tier Diamond League series in Doha a week ago.

Justus Soget of Kenya, who placed third in the 1,500m in Doha will once again be gunning for a top three spot in the metric mile.

His countryman Cheruiyot, the world and Commonwealth silver medallist, boasts outstanding credentials as does Ethiopia’s rising teenage talent Samuel Tefera, who stormed to 1,500m gold at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

“It is an open race and anyone may take the win. But what’s important is to run fast time because many are yet to peak after starting training late,” said Soget.

The world indoor bronze medalist Abdelaati Iguider of Morocco and the 34-year-old Ethiopian Aman Wote, who finished one place behind in Birmingham, will also compete.

Elsewhere, world champion Muktar Edris opens his track season against a field including teammates Dejen Gebremeskel and Hagos Gebrhiwet and Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo.

World and Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto makes his international debut at the distance.

           

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