Reigning world champions David Rudisha, Nicholas Bett and Hyvin Kiyeng will lead Kenya’s formidable charge at the IAAF Diamond League, Shanghai meet on Saturday.
Rudisha, who holds the 800m world record of 1:40.91, will be up against two-time All Africa Games bronze medallist Job Kinyor (Personal Best 1:43:76), Alfred Kipketer and Fergusson Rotich.
American Nick Seymonds and Michael Rimmer of Britain are also lined up against King David.
World 400m hurdles champion Bett and the 2015 Beijing World Championships finalist Boniface Tumuti face a stellar cast comprising six world and Olympics medallists.
Also on parade in the race are reigning Olympic Games champion Michael Tinsley, two-time world silver medallist Javier Culson and the 2011 world bronze medallist LJ van Zyl.
“Previously, I never competed much in the Diamond League, but this time round, the meetings will be important as a build-up for the Olympic Games, where I hope to win another major title,” said Bett.
“The conditions are favourable. I hope for a good run,” he added.
Seasoned hurdler Kerron Clement, the 2007 and 2009 world champion, should not be underrated. He was fourth in at the Beijing Worlds and is the seventh fastest of all time.
In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, Kiyieng (9:10:15) leads Beatrice Chepkoech (9:41:1), Purity Kirui (9:17.74) and Cellphine Chespol, the World Youth 2,000m champion.
Diamond League sensation Virginia Nyambura (9:13:85), Lydia Chebet (9:18.3) and Rosefline Chepng’etich (9:25:91) are also in the start list.
The bitter rivalry between Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes is expected to play out in the middle distance races.
World 1,500m silver medallist Faith Chepng’etich and former Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Augustine Choge will be in action in their specialities.
Chepng’etich, the Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion, who has personal best of 3 minutes 56.98, leads Kenya’s quartet of Hellen Obiri (3:57.5), Nancy Chepkemoi (4:03.9) and Violah Lagat (4:04.10).
The Kenyans will take on Ethiopians Dawit Seyaum (3:59.03), Sado Besu (4:00.65) and Gudaf Tsegay (4:07.43).
At 22, Chepng’etich has a string of titles to her name, having won World Junior Cross Country titles in 2011 and 2013, the world youth and world junior gold medals on the track in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and the Commonwealth Games 1,500m crown in Glasgow in 2014.
World Indoor 3,000m bronze medallist Augustine Choge, Olympics 5,000m bronze Thomas Longosiwa, Bethwel Birgen and Lawi Lalang will battle it out in the 12 laps race.
World Indoor 3,000m champion Yomif Kejelcha will be leading the Ethiopian charge over the distance.
Longosiwa, a Diamond League regular, will be hoping to up his form after winning the Kenya Prisons Service Championships last weekend.