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Kenya’s Cheruiyot fires warning shot for
Africa Championships with win in Paris   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s world silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot has promised his rivals a run for their money as he seeks his first title at the Africa Championships, in Asaba, Nigeria from Aug 1-5.

Cheruiyot is gliding high and is yet to lose in the Diamond League in 1,500 meters. His latest win came on Saturday in Paris where he struck an improved time, which is the current world lead from 3:31.22 to 3:29.71 to keep his unbeaten streak on the 14-leg circuit intact. He also won in Shanghai, Eugene and Stockholm.

“I have one more race in Monaco before focusing on the Africa Championships,” said Cheruiyot on arrival back home on Monday.

“It is important that I utilize this top form by winning a major title and the Africa Championships are next, which will secure me a ticket to the World Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic (Sept 18-19).”

In Paris, Cheruiyot was too strong in the final lap opening a gap of over ten meters as he crossed the line with Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman second with 3:31.77 while Jakub Holusa was fifth in a Czech record of 3:32.85 (also European lead in 2018).

“There is a plan to try and run a world record in Monaco (July 20) with my friend Elijah Manangoi (world champion in 1,500m). There is a lot that need to fall in place, but to have run under the three minute and 30 seconds is a big boost towards attaining that goal,” Cheruiyot added.

The world record of Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1998 in Rome stands at 3:26.00 and only two other athletes have run close to it.

Kenyan-born American Bernard Lagat, won in 2001 Brussels in 3:26.34 and Asbel Kiprop clocked 3 minutes 26.69 seconds in Monaco in 2015.

Since then, nobody has come close to the record. But Manangoi has thrown his hat in the ring and Cheruiyot has promised to pick it up as the two clashes for the third time this season after the Commonwealth Games in April and the Eugene leg of the Diamond League in the USA in May.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s steeplechase sensation Celliphine Chespol believes her good run in Paris will spur her to retain her world junior title in Tampere, Finland next week. Chespol is leading Kenya’s delegation of 26 to the championships eyeing the overall title from defending champions USA.

“Paris was important to me because I was running against very good athletes who are also world beaters. My focus is the World U-20 Championships, which is about 10 days to come,” said the 19-year-old.

“My target is to be in the podium in Finland,” he added.

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