Kenyan athletes at the IAAF World Championships in London have capped a stellar week from the East African Athletics powerhouse by advancing to the later stages of the competition.
Beijing Olympics gold medalist and three-time World champion Asbel Kiprop is gunning for a fourth successive World title for the 1500m event. He qualified for the event’s semis a few seconds behind compatriot and Beijing silver medalist Elijah Manangoi who ran 3:45.93 with 3:45.96.
Another Kenyan, Timothy Cheruiyot joined his compatriots in the semis from the third qualifying heat with the fastest qualifying time (3:38.41). Cheruiyot is an African silver medalist.
Commonwealth silver medalist Ronald Kwemoi found his way to the semis via the longer route, qualifying as the fastest loser with a time of 3:43.10 that had left him placed seventh in his heat.
For the women’s 3000m steeplechase final on Friday, Rio Olympics silver medallist and defending World champion Hyvin Kiyeng will line up alongside her teammates; Commonwealth Games champion Purity Kirui, World Junior Champion Celliphine Chepteek Chespol and Beatrice Chepkoech.
The quartet will be hoping they can seal a first Kenyan clean podium sweep at the IAAF World Championships but will have to contend with Ruth Jebet, a Kenyan-born Bahraini Olympic champion and world record holder.
For a place at the IAAF World Championships 5000m final, Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri led compatriots Margaret Chelimo and Sheila Chepkirui by winning the first heat of the semis on Thursday.
They qualified ahead of defending champion Almaz Ayana who along with Obiri, are hot favorites for gold on Sunday.
In the 800m event, another Kenyan Margaret Wambui, bronze medallist at both the world indoors and Olympics last year, won her heat to advance semis. Her teammate Eunice Sum, world champion in Moscow in 2013 and bronze medallist in Beijing two years later, was forced to a late withdrawal due to illness.
In javelin, Olympic silver medalist Julius Yego advanced to the final set for Saturday when he threw 83.57 meters in his first attempt to surpass the qualifying mark of 83m. He will, however, face stiff competition from a German duo; Olympic champion Thomas Roehler and Johannes Vetter who threw a mammoth 91.20 in his first attempt.
Kenya has a total of seven medals at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London; three gold, one silver and three bronze medals.