World champion and series leader Eunice Sum will not be under any pressure when she takes the battle to her opponents in the women’s 800m at the Paris Diamond League on Saturday.
In the women’s 5000m, it’s left to be known whether some of Kenya’s celebrated juniors Faith Chepng’etich and Mercy Cherono – who are slowly taking senior ranks by storm – will spoil plans for a world record assault by Ethiopians Almaz Ayana and Genzebe Dibaba.
The Ethiopians have declared their intentions of breaking the world record time of 14:11.15 set by Genzebe’s elder sister Tirunesh Dibaba in 2008 in Oslo.
Sum, who is also the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Africa champion, is the favourite in the two lap race, having set the pace with victories in Shanghai (2:00.28) and Eugene 1:57.82 which is the world lead time.
Sum, who ran a personal best of 1:57.38 when she took the world by storm, winning the 2013 World title in Moscow, said her focus is on defending her world title and then the Diamond League Series.
“I feel great now even though I am not in that tip-top form as I was before Moscow,” said Sum adding that: “I hope to achieve that before Beijing.”
Sum said she will be careful when she comes face-to-face with World Junior champion Wilson Ajee, who gave her a scare in Eugene. Sum eventually beat the American to second place at the tape.
Ajee would go on to win in New York on June 13 with the third fastest time of the season of 1:58.83, in a race where Sum didn’t feature.
“There should be no cause for alarm since I believe in myself,” said Sum, who is the only Kenyan in the race. She is up against Olympic bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistogova from Russia, who has personal best of 1:57.53, American Chanelle Price, who claimed personal best of 1:59.47 after finishing third in New York.
Race director Laurent Boquillet termed it a risky affair putting together World bronze medallist Ayana, who has the fastest time this year of 14:14.32 from Shanghai and Dibaba, winner in Eugene (14:19.76) and Oslo (14:21.29) in one race.
“We would have preferred Ayana attacking the record alone but to be realistic, it’s complicated now and that is the dream we have,” said Boquillet.
Chepng’etich, who finished second in Eugene in 14:31.95, was of similar opinion saying the two can burn out each other with someone else going for the record.
“The Ethiopians are strong at the moment but we can still surprise them,” said Chepng’etich. Also is the race are Viola Kibiwott, Betsy Saina and Irene Jelagat, who is one of the pacesetters. World Cross Country champion Agnes Jebet, withdrew from the race.
“I have been working on my speed and I hope all will be well,” said Cherono.
PROGRAMME (Kenyan times)
3000m Steeplechase Men (9:24pm)
800m Women (9:42pm)
1500m Men (10:02pm)
5000m Women (10:32pm)
Courtesy of nation.co.ke