Most athletes in Kenya’s team to the 13th IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, later this month have reported to the residential training camp at Kasarani while a few are still polishing up their skills in Eldoret.
Others have left the country to compete at tomorrow’s IAAF/Samsung Diamond League series meeting in London.
Sally Kipyego, lining up in the 10,000 metres, has a double task to accomplish as she battles fellow Kenyans and an Ethiopian galaxy of stars led by the indefatigable Meseret Defar.
The US-based Kipyego, 25, will be seeking global glory in the South Korean coastal city, representing Kenya for the first time at this stage.
The last born in a family of seven is sister of former world 3,000m steeplechase champion, Mike Kipyego, and marathoner Christoper Kipyego.
Change of tact
She had unsuccessfully attempted to make the national team to the world athletics bonanza four times in a row and decided to change tact this time round.
Kipyego, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Texas Tech Stadium in USA, said: “After making frantic efforts over the years to make the team, I decided to travel back home early this time. I usually train in the USA and come home for the national trials.
“But I realised that was my undoing. I then decided to pitch tent in Iten and it eventually paid off.”
The alumnus of Moi Kapcherop Girls High School in Marakwet District said she was excited by the residential training in Kasarani.
“My priority here for the first three weeks is to check on the response of my body . It will give me a better idea of what will happen at the World Championships,” Kipyego, who started running while a pupil at Kaptiony Primary School in Marakwet, said on Wednesday.
She made her maiden her appearance in the national team colours at the 2001 IAAF World Cross-country championships in Ostend, Belgium, placing eight.
But a calf strain injury ruled her out running for three seasons and she, instead, made a strange decision to get back to class.
“Hopefully, I will respond well in the next few weeks of training . I want to perform well in Daegu,” said the eloquent Kipyego.
In Kasarani, the team has another distance running maestro – Isaiah Kiplang’at Koech, the former World Youth 3,000m champion.
Kiplang’at, known as “chairman” in athletics circles (from Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat’s name) Kenya’s chairman, lines up in Daegu in the 5,000m with a third world-leading time of 12:54.18 behind Mohamed Farah of the United Kingdom and Kenyan-turned American Bernard Lagat.
Kiplang’at, who moulded his superb running skills while a pupil at Silibwet Primary School in Kuresoi, proved more than a match for global 5,000m stars at the national trials last month.
Although he is a track newcomer at the global championships, the highly talented Kiplang’at could well pull a fast one on the elites.
But it will not be a walk in the park for the young Kiplang’at as former world 5,000m silver medallist Eliud Kipchoge struggles to get back his groove in Eldoret.
Kipchoge will make his five-time stab at the IAAF World Championships, having bagged gold (2003), fourth (2005), silver (2007) and fifth (2009).