Nairobi, Oslo ready for ‘impossible’ race

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Ingebrigtsen bothers Jakob, Henrik and Filip. Photo/Photo/COURTESY

Nairobi, Tuesday @PeopleDailyKe

Nairobi and Oslo will offer athletes new hope of returning to competition via a 2,000m virtual race on Thursday, once considered “impossible” before the Covid-19 epidemic.

The event, which will run concurrently in Nairobi (Kenya) and Oslo (Norway), will be the first in a series of rescheduled Diamond League meetings.

Kenya’s side, dubbed “Team Cheruiyot,” will be led by reigning world 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot. 

His team members are Commonwealth Games winner Elijah Manangoi, Africa Under-18 1,500m champion Vincent Keter, Edwin Melly and Timothy Sein.

“Team Ingebrigtsen” from Norway will feature the Ingebrigtsen brothers in European 1,500m and 5,000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Henrik Ingebrigtsen and Filip Ingebrigtsen. They will be joined by two other athletes.

Both teams will feature five runners, but the final overall time will be taken from the three fastest runners from each team.

“Everything has been done. Nairobi is ready to stage its own race and I know Oslo is ready. We want to give athletes new hope that sports competition is back and they should start their preparations and focus on getting back to action as soon as possible,” Barnabas Korir from the organising team said. 

Team Cheruiyot’s coach Bernard Ouma said the virtual race elicits a positive feeling and will offer great moments as athletes finally return to action.

However, Ouma also said issues including altitude and weather may impact athletes differently in virtual races, which will be considered a challenge to equity.

“The Ingebrigtsens have been training a lot, and that was clear when Jakob won a 5km road race in an impressive time of 13:28 in Norway.

That is pretty fast. Kenya’s team just started training two weeks ago. But the whole project is not only about training, and we accepted the challenge,” said Ouma.

Manangoi is, however, more focused on gauging himself than setting a fast time.

“To me, it is about being ready for the Olympics after returning from the hamstring injury.

The Diamond League will be a stepping stone to gauge my preparedness and then after it is about 2021 and the Tokyo Games,” Manangoi said.   -Xinhua

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