By Ayumba Ayodi
African Games 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa will kick start Kenya’s hunt for medals at the World Indoor Championships on Friday in Portland, USA.
Mweresa gets down to business at 9.45pm in the 400m heats followed by the semi-finals at 4.45am on Saturday.
The next race featuring Kenyans will be the 3,000m heats starting at 11.05pm. Defending 3,000m champion Caleb Mwangangi and 2016 World Indoor Tour Series 3,000m champion Augustine Choge will highlight the 3,000m race where they will be joined by the 2013 World 5,000m bronze medallist (outdoor) Isaiah Kiplangat, who is making his debut.
Jeremiah Mutai will be hoping to scale past the heats this time round in men’s 800m race that start at 11.55pm. Mutai, who failed to past the first round heats during the 2014 Sopot World Indoor, will team up with Edward Kibet.
The men’s 1,500m heats featuring Vincent Kibet and Bethwell Birgen will go down at 4.20am on Sunday. World Junior 800m champion Margaret Nyairera is Kenya’s lone ranger in the 800m heats starting on Saturday at 9.15pm.
Men’s 800m final will start at 4.35am on Monday followed by the 400m final at 4.47am.
The 3,000m women’s race will go straight to the final on Monday evening. Kenya’s Nancy Chepkwemoi and Betsy Saina, will do the battle in the race that has defending champion Genzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia.
Mweresa, 22, goes into the race quite optimistic, having chalked a surprise victory in 400m at the Catalan Centenary Indoor Meet in Sabadell, Spain, clocking a personal best 46.46 seconds on February 19. He started his Indoor season well on February 13, finishing second in 47.08 at Gent Indoor in Belgium.
“The performance in Europe inspired me more. I can achieve more if I focus and work hard,” said Mweresa. “I am glad to represent Kenya at the global arena for the second time ever.”
Mweresa faces a tough field in men’s 400m that has Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak, winner of Glasgow Indoor, and Grenada’s Bralon Taplin, who has posted the two fastest times in the world this season.
The Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion and World 5,000m silver medallist Mwangangi and Choge, who won silver in 3,000m at the 2012 World Indoor, will be seeking to deliver victory once again. “We have done our best and ask Kenyans to pray for us. We have a strong team,” said Choge.
The Kenyans face a powerful Ethiopian trio of world leader and 2014 World indoor bronze medallist Dejen Gebremeskel, Yenew Alamirew and Yomif Kejelcha, the 2014 World junior 5,000m champion.
Only two of those Ethiopians will start, but it is likely Gebremeskel will be one of them following his two convincing wins in Boston last month.
Morocco’s 2012 World Indoor 1,500m champion Abdalaati Iguidar is also on the entry list and posted an impressive 7:39.04 in Stockholm in February.
Source: Kenya News Agency