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Choge expects Kenyan team to shine
at World Indoor Championships   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- World indoor 3,000m bronze medalist Augustine Choge says he expects Kenyan athletes to do better than the team he led to this event two years ago in Portland, Oregon in the United States.

Choge, who led the Kenyan team in 2016, could only secure bronze in the 3,000m men’s race, while Margaret Nyairera was the other medalist from claiming a bronze in 800m.

“The team is strong and have shown consistency in the IAAF Indoor circuit,” said Choge. “I wish them all the best and [hope they] do better than the 2016 team.”

The World Indoor Championships will be held in Birmingham, England from March 1-4.

Former Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo was the last Kenyan to win the women’s 800m World Indoor title at the 2012 event in Istanbul, while Caleb Mwangangi and Hellen Obiri were the last Kenyans to win the World Indoor 3,000m title during the 2014 run held in Sopot, Poland.

Both Obiri and Bethwell Birgen secured their tickets as wild cards, having won the IAAF Indoor Tour circuit, but youngster Davis Kiplagat will be making his second show at a big stage after making his debut at the 5,000m race at the 2017 World Championships in London. Kiplagat and Birgen will team up in the men’s 3,000m race.

Birgen, however, will want to atone for his loss in 2016 when he failed to reach the final in men’s 1,500m at the 2016 championships.

“I have gained more experience and shown [myself] to be resilient in indoor competition. I hope to do well and reclaim the title last won by Mwangangi in Poland,” said Birgen.

Another youngster who is eager to get off the block will be Steeplechaser Beatrice Chepkoech, who will compete in the 500m.

In the absence of Olympic and World champion Faith Chepng’ etich, Chepkoech will be Kenya’s lone wolf in a flock of sheep in Birmingham.

However, there will be no space for Michael Saruni and Emmanuel Korir, who have been dominant in the USA Indoor competition over the 800m.

Last month, Saruni, who has been primed as the heir apparent to Olympic Champion David Rudisha, set a new world lead over the 600m distance in the USA.

In 2017, his compatriot Emmanuel Korir set a world indoor 600m, but Saruni later replicated the feat at the Martin Luther King Invitational in Albuquerque.

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