With just a day to the eagerly awaited National Athletics Trials set for Nyayo Stadium, Kenyan elite runners hope to put up a great show as they eye slots to the global showpiece set for September 27-October 6 in Doha, Qatar.
Men’s 800m has attracted some of the best two-lap runners that include USA-based duo of Emmanuel Korir and Michael Saruni.
Other top contenders for the three spots include Ferguson Rotich, the 2016 Diamond League Trophy winner, reigning Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal and Alfred Kipketer.
Both Korir, Kimanyal and Rotich finished outside the podium at the Zurich Diamond League finals two weeks ago, an event won by America’s Donovan Brazier with Botswana’s Nigel Amos finishing second.
“I didn’t have the best Diamond League season, I have been dogged with injuries that’s why I didn’t give my best in Zurich.
“But I’m glad to be back home, I have been training session in Iten, so I’m looking forward to the trials which I’m sure will be pretty competitive,” said Korir who has been largely considered as world 800m record holder David Rudisha’s predecessor.
Just like Korir, Rotich has also struggled with injury but he is keen to win one of the three available slots to Doha.
“I’m looking forward to the trials, though generally, my season hasn’t been the best. Leg injuries really affected my performance but I’m glad I’m picking up,” said the Kericho-based Rotich.
In the women’s 800m event, Kenya generally has struggled this season with no representative in the Diamond League finals.
Former world champion Eunice Sum who is rediscovering her form will lead the hunt for Doha tickets. Sum will face stiff challenge from national champion Jackline Wambui, Emily Tuwei, Eglay Nalianya, another former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei, Jarinter Mawia, Sylvia Chesebe among others in the two lap race.
Throughout the season no Kenyan woman has dipped under two minutes.
Both men and women 800m semi-finals will be held tomorrow with finals set for Friday.
World Under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo, Jonathan Ndiku and Daniel Simuyu are the front runners for World Championships slots in the men’s 5000m final tomorrow.
World steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech who has already secured the slot to the worlds after successfully defending her Diamond League Trophy last weekend will led the chase in 3,000m steeplechase.
World Under-20 champion Celliphine Chespol, 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng, Fancy Cherono and former Africa champion Norah Jeruto will be hoping to secure the other remaining two tickets.