By WILLIAM NJUGUNA
Kenya’s athletes are hoping to end the World Indoor Championships on a high by winning gold in the men and women’s 3,000 meters races in Portland, Oregon.
Defending champion Caleb Ndiku, former 5000 meter Commonwealth games champion Augustine Choge and Isiah Koech and Paul Chelimo form the trio looking to win the medals.
Ndiku stumbled in the heats on the final lap and finished fifth at 7:53.21, qualifying as one of the fastest losers.
Koech came second in 7:52.64 and Chelimo third in 7:53.99. Morocco’s Abdallati Iguider clinched the heat in 7:51.65 .
Choge cam second in his heat by posting 7:51.57 while Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelecha carried the day by clocking 7:52.13.
Djibouti’s Hiss Bachir posted 7:52.08 to finish third and qualified alongside Ryan Hall of the United States, who came fourth in 7:52.13, and Australia’s Brett Robinson fifth who finished in 7:53.51.
It will be a battle between Kenya and Ethiopians, with Yenew Alamirew and Yomif Kjelecha providing a stern test for the Kenyans in the race.
The womens 3,000 meter race will also provide fireworks with Betsy Saina and Nancy Chepkwemoi in the hunt for medals.
They face a herculean task against defending champion and world 1,500 meters record world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, and compatriot Meseret Defar.
Kenyans have had mixed outing at the championships since Friday with Viola Lagat finishing eighth in the 1,500 meters final.
Lagat posted 4:10.45 while Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan won gold in 4:04.96. Dawit Seynaum of Ethiopia took the silver by posting 4:05.30 and compatriot Gudaf Tsegay bronze after finishing in 4:05.71
Boniface Mweresa finished fifth in the 400 meters in 46.86. Poland’s Pavel Maslak won gold in a time of 45.44 while Abdlelah Harouni of Qatari took silver in 45.59.
Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago took bronze in 46.17 while Brian Taplin of Grenada came fourth in 46.56
Teenage star Margaret Wambui will be in contention for the womens 800 meters after strong showing in the heats on Saturday.
Wambui came second in her heat posting 2:00.68 with crowd favourite Ajee Wilson of the United States taking the honours in 2:00.61.
Anita Hinrissdottir of the Isle of Man qualified for the final by posting 2:0.96 alongside Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu who came fourth in 2:02.34
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke