The Moi International Sports Centre, a multi-purpose stadium in Kasarani, a residential neighborhood in Nairobi, hosts the fourth edition of the Kip Keino Classic, the third leg of the World Athletics Tour Gold, on Saturday, May 13.
Women’s 100 metres:
Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce is set to return to Nairobi for her first 100 metres race of the season.
The Jamaican super star clocked 10.67 in last year’s edition of the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi setting the fastest-ever women’s 100 metres season opener.
This result was the start of a phenomenal 2022 season In which she broke the 10.70 barrier a record seven times and won the World Championships on the Hayward Field track in Eugene in 10.67. She went on to win at the Herculis meeting in Monaco in 10.62 and in the Diamond League Final in Zurich in 10.65 in her most recent race.
The “Pocket Rocket” won eight Olympic medals (including two 100m titles) and ten world titles (including five 100m titles in Berlin 2009, Moscow 2013, Beijing 2015, Doha 2019 and Eugene 2022). At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she became one of the only four sprinters in history to defend an Olympic 100 meter title. She won the Olympic silver medal in the 100 metres in Tokyo becoming the first sprinter to reach the podium in the 100m at four consecutive Olympic Games.
Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce: “Hey guys. I am coming back to Nairobi. Last year was fantastic, as Kasarani Stadium was filled with a super crowd and the background music made the atmosphere electrifying, so make sure you have your tickets in advance and show up in large numbers so that you have some fun again and enjoy to the fullest like you did the last time. See you. I don’t know where I am as opposed to last year when I had run at least one race in the 200 meters in Kingston. I have not run since last September. It’s a different year. I want to see where I am at, have a good time and execute. I am sure it will be fantastic. I am feeling good, to be honest, but no two years are the same. Whatever you correct in training or whatever you are working on, if you come and execute all those things, it will all come together. I hope to build on the moments and experiences that I had last year, into this year”.
Fraser Pryce was named Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year at the 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards in Paris.
“I was thrilled to be nominated alongside such inspiring women athletes, and to win this award, voted for by some of the greatest sportsmen and women of all time, is just amazing. This is the sixth time I have been nominated in this category, so to finally hold the Laureus statuette in my hands is one of the greatest honors of my career”.
Fraser Pryce will face reigning 4x100 world champion Twanisha Terry, who improved her PB to 10.82 in Memphis last year and won the 100m at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix in Gaborone in 11.05, Tehana Daniels, who won the Olympic silver medal in the 4x100 relay in Tokyo 2021, Oceania’s record holder and champion Zoe Hobbs, who clocked 10.97 this year, Bassant Hemida from Egypt, who placed second to Fraser Pryce at the Kip Keino Classic last year, and Rani Rosius from Belgium, fourth in the 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships in 7.15 in Istanbul.
Women’s 200 metres:
Sha’Carri Richardson will compete in her fifth race this year. The US star lines up in the 200 metres eight days after winning the first Diamond League race of her career in Doha in 10.76 beating Sherika Jackson and Dina Asher-Smith. Richardson also clocked a wind-assisted 10.57 in Miramar last April setting the fourth-fastest time in all wind conditions. In her first 200 metres race of the year she finished second to Kayla White in Gaborone.
Richardson came to the fore in June 2019, when she won the 100m title in 10.75 at the NCAA Championships in Austin as a freshman at Lousiana State University setting a collegiate record. With this time she improved Marlies Goehr’s 42-year-old world under 20 record. In the 200 metres she finished second in 22.17 breaking Allyson Felix’s world under 20 record set at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Richardson will face Javianne Oliver, Olympic 4x100 relay silver medallist and the US champion in the 100m in 10.99 in 2019, Kyra Jefferson, NCAA champion in the 200m in her lifetime best of 22.02 in 2017 and three-time NACAC Championships gold medallist, Alexandra Burghardt, European champion in the 4x100 relay in Munich, and Shannon Ray, who holds PBs of 11.09 in the 100m and 22.83 in the 200m.
Men’s 100 metres:
Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala will be bidding to win the 100 metres for the third consecutive year at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. Omanyala set the African 100 metres record of 9.77 to win in front of his home fans and repeated his feat by winning in 9.85 last year. Omanyala won the 60 metres in the World Indoor Tour Gold in Liévin beating Marcell Jacobs last February and clocked a wind-assisted 9.78 (+2.3 m/s) at the Botswana Grand Prix in Gaborone last April. He is still unbeaten in the 100m this season. Last Saturday he set the fastest time by an African sprinter in the 150 metres clocking 14.89 in Atlanta.
Omanyala will take on world 100m silver medallist Marvin Bracy, and the world and Olympic 200 metres silver medallist Kenny Bednarek, who won the Diamond League final in the 200m in Zurich in 2021 and finished third in 10.02 behind Omanyala and Letsile Tebogo at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix in Gaborone, and reigning 4x100 world champion Jerome Blake from Canada.
Ferdinand Omanyala: “I am feeling good. The record is going down and I will break it a couple of times this year. I am promising another African and national record at the Kip Keyno Classic. It’s my home ground. People have also come to believe that this is the track where fast times are run. This event is going to grow bigger, and I am urging fans to come out, fill the stadium and enjoy this meeting. The atmosphere at the Kip Keino Classic is always great”.
Men’s 400 metres:
Muzala Samukonga from Zambia will headline the men’s 400 metres. The 20-year-old Zambian athlete won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 44.66 and broke the 44 seconds barrier for the first time in his career with a sensational national record and world seasonal best of 43.91 at the Golden Grand Prix in Gaborone.
Samukonga will face 800m Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir, who aims to improve the national record held by Samson Kitur. Korir set his PBs of 44.21 in the 400 metres and 1:42.05 in the 800m.
Men’s 200 metres:
Liberia’s Joseph Fahnbulleh will take on former 400 metres Commonwealth Games champion Isaac Makwala, reigning world 4x100 gold medallist Aaron Brown from Canada, US sprinter Kyree King, Olympic 4x100 gold medallist Filippo Tortu from Italy, and 200m world under 20 champion Blessing Afrifah from Israel.
Fanhbulleh placed fifth in the 200m Olympic final in Tokyo in 19.98 and fourth at the World Championships in Eugene in 19.84. The Liberian sprinter won the NCAA titles in the 100m in 10.00 and in the 200m in a national record of 19.83. He improved the national record to 9.98 in the 100m in Gainesville this year.
Makwala clocked 19.77 in the 200 metres in Madrid in 2017 and 43.72 in the 400 metres in La Chaux de Fonds in 2015. The Botswanan sprinter won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast in 2018, the Olympic bronze medal in the 4x400 relay and two African titles in 2012 and 2014 and has represented Botswana at the World Championships five times in 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2015 and 2017.
Brown finished seventh in the 200 metres and eighth in the 100 metres and won the gold medal in the 4x100 relay with a national record of 37.48 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021. At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, he won the silver medal in the 4x100 relay and placed sixth in the 200m. The Canadian sprinter set PBs of 9.96 in the 100m in Montverde in 2016 and 19.95 in the 200m in Lausanne in 2019. Two weeks ago he finished second behind Letsile Tebogo in 20.00 at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix in Gaborone.
Tortu won the Olympic gold medal in the 4x100 relay in Tokyo 2021 in a national record of 37.50 and won the European 200m bronze medal in Munich last year. The Italian sprinter became the second fastest Italian sprinter in history in the 200m with 20.11 in the 2021 edition of the kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. He improved his PB by 0.01 with 20.10 in the semifinal of the World Championships in Eugene missing the final by just three three thousandths of a second. Tortu anchored the Italian team to a win in the 4x100 relay with 38.38 in the season opener at the Sprint Festival in Florence last Sunday.
King set PBs of 9.96 in the 100m in Eugene in 2022 and 20.00 in the 200 metres at last year’s NACAC Championships in Freeport, where he won the silver medal.
Afrifah won the 200m world under 20 title in Cali in 19.96 beating Letsile Tebogo by just six thousandths of a second last August.
At last year’s edition of the Kip Keino Classic Brown took the win in 20.05 ahead of King (20.18) and Makwala (20.31).
Women’s hammer throw:
Polish hammer star Anita Wlodarczyk will be seeking her second win at the Kip Keino Classic one year after setting the meeting record of 78.06m.
Wlodarczyk won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016 with a world record of 82.29m and Tokyo 2021, four world gold medals in Berlin 2009, Moscow 2013, Beijing 2015 and London 2017 and four European titles in Helsinki 2012, Zurich 2014, Amsterdam 2016 and Berlin 2018.
Anita Wlodarczyk: “I only started training in December last year after going through rehabilitation after the injury. Realistically, I want to start with 75 metres at the Kip Keino Classic before gradually progressing to 78 metres at the World Championships in Budapest”.
Wlodarczyk will take on last year’s world bronze medallist Janee Kassanavoid from the USA and reigning European gold medallist Bianca Ghelber from Romania.
Men’s hammer throw:
Olympic champion and world silver medallist Wojciech Nowicki will go head-to-head against European under 23 champion and world finalist Mykhaylo Kokhan from Ukraine, who won the world under 18 gold medal in Nairobi in 2017 and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ethan Katzberg from Canada. Nowicki won the hammer throw in last year’s edition of the Kip Keino Classic with 81.43m.
Men’s javelin throw:
Two-time world champion Andreson Peters from Grenada will be aiming to return to her winning ways after finishing third in the Diamond League meeting in Doha with 85.88m. Peters set a lifetime best of 93.07m in Doha last year and went on to win his second world title in Eugene with 90.54m. The Grenadan athlete threw over the 90 metres barrier four times in his career. He will renew his rivalry against 2015 world champion Julius Yego, who holds a national record of 92.72m. The Kenyan thrower hopes to bounce back from his recent competition in Doha, where he did not register any valid throw.
Women’s high jump:
Yaroslava Mahuchik is set to return to Kenya where she won the world under 18 title in the high jump at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi in 2017. On that occasion Mahuchik won the final by the biggest margin in the history of these championships with 1.92m, equalling the championships record held by her compatriot Iryna Kovalenko from 2003.
Mahuchik won two European Indoor titles in Torun 2021 with 2.00m and in Istanbul 2023 with 1.98m, the world indoor title in Belgrade 2022 with 2.02m, two consecutive world outdoor silver medals in Doha 2019 with 2.04m and in Eugene 2022 with 2.02m, the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo 2021 with 2.01. Last year she improved her outdoor PB to 2.05m in Brussels before winning her first Diamond League Trophy in Zurich.
Mahuchik will take on 2017 world silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko, Kateryna Tabashnyk, European Indoor bronze medallist in Istanbul 2022, and Maryna Kotvunova, second at the Balkan under 20 indoor Championships in 2022.
Men’s 800 metres:
Kenyan 18-year-old Emmanuel Wanyonyi will return to the track where he won the world Under 20 gold medal in 2021 in 1:43.76. Wanyonyi won the 800m in last year’s edition of the Kip Keino Classic in 1:45.01 and went on to finish fourth at the World Championships in Eugene in 1:44.54. He helped Kenya’s 4x2 km mixed relay team to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Bathurst last February.
Wanyonyi will go head-to-head against two-time Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal, who placed second in the Diamond League meeting in Doha last week, 2019 world 1500m champion Timothy Cherouiyot, who placed fifth in the 3000m in 7:36.72 in Doha, and Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Rotich.
Women’s 800 metres:
Kenya’s Mary Moraa will run her first 800 metres of the outdoor season after setting a national record and the qualifying standard for the World Championships in Budapest with 50.44 in the 400 metres in Gaborone at the end of April. During a successful 2022 season, Moraa won the world bronze medal in Eugene, the Commonwealth Games title and the Diamond League final in Zurich.
Moraa will face Prudence Sekgodiso from South Africa, who won the 800m in a PB of 1:58.41 in last year’s edition of the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Habitam Alemu from Ethiopia, who holds a PB of 1:56.71 and finished sixth in the Olympic final in Tokyo, and African silver medallist Netsanet Desta from Ethiopia.
Women’s 3000 metres steeplechase:
World 3000m steeplechase record holder and former world champion Beatrice Chepkoech will take on world under 20 champion Faith Cherotich, who finished third in the Doha Diamond League race, and Jackline Chepkoech, the world under 20 gold medallist in Nairobi 2021, Commonwealth Games champion in Birmingham and winner at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels in a lifetime best of 9:02.43.
Women’s 1500 metres:
Winfred Yavi Mutile from Barhein will step down in distance running the 1500 metres eight days after winning the 3000 metres steeplechase in the Diamond League meeting in 9:04.38. Yavi set her lifetime best of 8:56.66 in Paris last year. Yavi will face her compatriots Winnie Chebet, Ednah Chebitok and Ksanet Alem from Ethiopia.
Men’s 1500 metres:
Abel Kipsang will chase his second consecutive win at this meeting after claiming victory last year in 3:31.00. The Kenyan athlete, who finished fourth in the 1500m final in 3:29.56 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021, started his season with a win in the 800m in Gaborone in 1:44.6. Kipsang will renew his rivalry against Adel Mechaal from Spain, who finished fifth in the Olympic final in Tokyo and won the European indoor silver medal in the 3000m in Istanbul last March.
The line-up will also feature Reynold Kipkorir, world under 20 champion in Cali 2022, and Kamar Etiang, who holds a PB of 3:33.12 in the 1500m-
Men’s 3000 metres steeplechase:
The men’s 3000 metres steeplechase is expected to be a generation battle between 2021 world under 20 champion Amos Serem and experienced athletes like Benjamin Kigen, Olympic bronze medallist in Tokyo and Diamond League winner in Zurich in 2021, and Abraham Kibiwott, gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year.