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Kenya’s Manangoi launches World Indoor campaign in Germany 

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- 1500m world champion Elijah Manangoi of Kenya will launch his World Indoor Tour campaign on Tuesday in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Manangoi, who has only raced in cross country since his win in London in August, is hopeful he will be strong enough to dominate in Germany. He will be targeting the remaining four rounds of the IAAF World Indoor tour in the hope of nailing down a spot in the Kenyan team for the rest of the season. The World Indoor Championships will be held in Birmingham, England from March 1-4.

“I am ready for the action. It is a challenge to compete in the Indoor circuit, which is short and [has] sharp corners but I have prepared well, done my endurance [training] and now [I’m] ready to take on the boys in Germany,” Manangoi said on Monday.

Organizers of the meeting in Dusseldorf have also invited Sam Kendricks of the United States, an addition that will mean 11 medalists from the 2017 IAAF World Championships will be competing.

Manangoi, who won the world 1500m title last August, returns to Dusseldorf seeking a third straight victory in this event.

“I won in Dusseldorf before and hopefully, it will go well for me this time around,” he added.

Kendricks meanwhile, who ended a sensational 2017 season unbeaten in 17 competitions, will headline the pole vault where he’ll face Poland’s European indoor champion Piotr Lisek.

The men’s 800m will feature a battle between Poland’s perennial threat Adam Kszczot and rising Kenyan star Kipyegon Bett, who raced to silver and bronze medals respectively in London last August.

Bett has to be at the top of his game to convince the coaches to select him for the Kenyan team ahead of compatriots Emmanuel Korir and Michael Saruni, who are based in the US and have showcased great potential this season.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s World 1500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba will hope to continue her strong showing from the first meeting in Karlsruhe (Germany) with another stop in Madrid, Spain on Feb 8.

Dibaba, who last year won the 1000m in Madrid with a national indoor record of 2:33.06, will contest the 1500m at this year’s meeting. She holds both the indoor and outdoor records in this event.

The 2015 world champion will line up against 2014 world indoor silver medalist Axumawit Embaye of Ethiopia, European champion Angelika Cichocka of Poland, African silver medalist Malika Akkaoui of Morocco and Spanish duo Solange Andrea Pereira and Marta Perez.

World silver medalist Adam Kszczot will be aiming to repeat his 800m victory from 2017.

The Pole has won five continental titles at the distance - two outdoors and three indoors - and has earned silver medals at the past two world championships.

Ethiopia’s 2013 world champion and two-time world indoor champion Mohamed Aman, who is ranked one place ahead of Kszczot on the world indoor 800m all-time list, will also be in Madrid, along with Spanish record-holder Kevin Lopez, European indoor bronze medalist Alvaro de Arriba, Daniel Andujar and Jesus Gonzalez.



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