World and Commonwealth 1,500m silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot will use his 800m title defence at the Kenya Prisons Service Athletics Championships that starts on Friday at Kasarani to refine his speed.
Cheruiyot said the Prisons event is vital for him ahead of the national trials for the World Championships planned from August 20-21 at Nyayo National Stadium.
The 23-year-old said his ultimate target is victory at the World Championships slated from September 28 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar, having played second fiddle at the 2017 London World event.
Cheruiyot was speaking at the Prisons headquarters in Nairobi where Kenya Prisons Service Commissioner General Wycliffe Ogallo received over Sh1.5 million in cash and kind from several sponsors for the two-day event.
“I just want to thank God for the good health and form that I am enjoying at the moment,” said the on-form Cheruiyot. “I want to run faster this season and I believe the two-lap race will enhance that course.”
Among the firms that gave out their donations were Lotto Foundation (Sh500,000), Nairobi Women’s Hospital (Sh500,000), Safaricom (Sh300,000), Magereza Sacco (Sh100,000) and Kenya Commercial Bank (Sh50,000).
Other donations in kind came from Coca Cola, Getrude’s Children’s Hospital, Nairobi Sports House and Kenya Women’s Finance Trust.
Cheruiyot has been untouchable this season, having won four out of the seven events so far in the Diamond League but he insists that he is not overly focused on breaking the world record.
“Competition has always been stiff especially in championship events but all I want is an improved performance from the 2017 London World Championships,” said Cheruiyot, who finished second behind teammate Elijah Manangoi at the London event.
Cheruiyot, who is also the Africa 1,500m champion, strolled to his fourth victory this season at Monaco’s leg of the Diamond League last Friday, clocking three minutes and 29.97 seconds.
He also won in Stockholm, Stanford and Lausanne. It’s in last year's Monaco leg that he posted his personal best of three minutes, 28.4 seconds.
Cheruiyot will battle in the 800m semi-finals that will feature the 2012 national champion Anthony Chemut, who is also the 2012 Africa 800m silver medallist and 2017 Africa Under-20 800m silver medallist among others.
World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Cellphine Chespol is the person to beat in women’s 3,000m steeplechase final on Friday.
Lilian Kasait, who will lead Kenya’s 5,000m women’s team at the African Games next month, is favourite to retain her 5,000m title in the finals that also go down on Friday.
Former Africa 10,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei will be throwing down the gauntlet in the men’s 10,000m final.
Seasoned 2012 Olympic 5,000m bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa, Mangata Ndiwa and Charles Mneria will battle in the men’s 5,000m final on Saturday, a day that will also see former Africa 10,000m champion Alice Aprot aim to defend her 10,000m title.