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Kenya runners target world record time
at Monaco Diamond League meeting

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi hopes to strike two birds with one stone as he leads a group of Kenyan stars in Friday’s Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

The Commonwealth Games champion has his eyes on a world record in the four lap race and he hopes to put an end to compatriot Timothy Cheruiyot’s flawless cruise in the Diamond League. The two are part of over 20 elite runners from Kenya who departed for Monaco on Tuesday.

Manangoi says he is focused on taking a shot at the 20-year record (03:26), which Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj set in 1998. Manangoi boasts the ninth fastest time in 1,500m history with a 3:28.80 set in Monaco in 2016.

“Eyes on world record,” said Manangoi on Tuesday in Nairobi. “All training has gone well and hopefully a fast time will fall in place for me.” Manangoi and Cheruiyot traveled together, but there will be no love lost when they meet on the track in Monaco.

“I am traveling today and can’t wait to be back in Monaco for the Diamond League. (A) fast time is on my mind to (put the) gloss on another strong performance,” said Cheruiyot. Cheruiyot’s latest run was in Paris last week where he clocked a world leading time of 3:29.71.

Other athletes from Kenya include Charles Simotwo, Jackson Kivuva and Ferguson Rotich. In the 3,000m steeplechase, the world’s best athletes will stand shoulder to shoulder for a really fast race. World champion Emma Coburn of the USA will come under scrutiny as she faces Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, in-form world junior record holder Celliphine Chespol and Oslo’s Diamond League winner Hyvin Kiyeng.

The Kenyans are keen to break the nine minute barrier. “I want to run close to the world record and if I can finish under nine minutes then it will be good for me,” said Kiyeng. There will also be strong Kenyan presence in the 800m with South Africa’s Caster Semenya out to improve her personal best and Diamond League record of 1:54.25 set in Paris, which is just one second shy of the world record.

The Monaco meeting will be the penultimate stop for Kenyan athletes ahead of the continental championships on Aug 1-5 in Asaba, Nigeria.



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