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Kenya to battle Norway in virtual race

Wednesday May 27 2020
By AYUMBA AYODI

Team Cheruiyot made of metric mile supremos, Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manang'oi, will take on Team Ingebrigtsen of Norwegian brothers in the Maurie Plant Memorial Race on June 11.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohammed disclosed on Tuesday that the virtual race that pits Kenya against Norway, will feature a 2,000m race at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi and Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Norway respectively.

“The race will be staged simultaneously at the two cities with the two teams not getting to meet each other owing to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Amina while unveiling Team Cheruiyot at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Cheruiyot, the reigning World 1,500m champion, Manang’oi, the 2017 World 1,500m, who is also the reigning Africa champion, and 800m specialist Edwin Meli form Team Cheruiyot.

Jakob, the European 1,500m and 5,000m champion, Henrik and Filip form Team Ingebrigtsen that is currently training in Norway.

The race is on the memory of Maurie Plant, who was one of the most significant figures in Australian and world athletics. Plant died on January 19 this year.

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Plant, who was a manager, organiser and broadcaster, and a towering figure of Australian athletics, mainly behind the scenes, was influential in the careers of Sally Pearson, Catherine Freeman and Steve Hooker among others.

Amina said each side will have five athletes; three finishers and two pacesetters.

“This will be a real competition with the athletes getting some appearance fee,” said Amina. “This is to tell the world that everything is possible under this coronavirus lockdown.”

Cheruiyot, Manang’oi and Meli indicated that though Tuesday was the first time they had hit a running track this year, they will be ready for the race.

“It’s obvious the race will be tricky if you are to compare the altitude but we are known to be the best and we shall beat the Norwegians,” said Manang'oi.

“This is the first time I am testing the track this year but I am ready for the battle,” said Cheruiyot after the athletes cleared their morning training session at the Nyayo National Stadium under the watchful eyes of their coach Ben Ouma.

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