Former World 10,000m champion Linet Masai and Commonwealth Games 3000 metres steeplechase champion, Richard Mateelong are among the star attraction at the last NBK/AK Track and Field Meeting that starts on Friday at Meru’s Kinoru Stadium.
Also set to race in the two-day event is Julius Yego, who is fresh from breaking his own national record in javelin with a new distance of 79.95 metres.
But home fans will also be happy to see two times Hong Kong Marathon champion Cyprian Kiogora in action at home.
“It will be a great honour to have some of the world’s top athletes in this part of the country. I am certain many are eager to see Yego in action, especially after his record-breaking feat 11 days ago,” said AK Eastern Branch chairman, Joseph Kinyua.
Yego meets Olympic mark
Corporal Yego’s performance overshadowed the men’s 10,000m mini-trials for London Olympics when he broke his previous record by 1.61 metres to qualify for the Summer Olympics, beating the B Standard mark of 82.00.
Yego, 23, is the first Kenyan athlete in field events to make it to the Olympic Games.
Yego, who has in Finland for specialised training since January, is set to fly back to the Nordic country on May 20 for another three weeks training before returning for the national trials. He will be under coach Petteri Pironnen.
Masai, who is also the 2007 World Cross-country junior champion, will compete in the 5,000m race as she seeks to improve on her speed in quest for the 10,000m ticket for the Olympics.
It will be Masai’s first appearance on track this season, having taken part in cross country races in Europe.
AK head coach Julius Kirwa said Masai is more focused than ever, having unsuccessfully taken a shot at the Olympic title after failing in the last hurdle.
Coach Kirwa optimistic
“I have spoken to her in camp and she is hungry for success,” Kirwa said. “We are glad to Masai in Meru since most of these leading long distance race athletes have given the Weekend Meets a wide berth.”
It will also be the 2009 Berlin Worlds silver medallist, Richard Mateelong’s season opener. Mateelong also holds two African steeplechase titles.
Kiogora will compete in the 10,000m in the meet that is the seventh and last NBK/AK Track and Field Meeting.
More exciting battles are expected in the sprints, with the new kid on the block, Ibrahim Muya of Prisons, set to wrap up an eventful run in 100m.
He has severally posted 10.4 seconds timing and has expressed intentions of breaking the national record of 10.26 seconds currently held by Thomas Musinde.
Musinde set the new 100m national record when he ran 10.26 at the 2007 All African Games.
Maurine Chelagat will also seek to stamp her authority in women’s 100m and 400m hurdles.
The event will pave way for AK affiliates meets, starting with the Kenya Prisons Athletics Championships on May 4 to 5, the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships on May 11 to 12 and National Police Service Athletics Championships between May 18 to 19, all at the Nyayo National Stadium.