Olympic champ Kipyegon returns to action

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-26 02:51:25|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Olympic gold medalist Faith Kipyegon is relishing the epic fight against her rivals as she returns to action for the first time in over two years at the Prefontain Classic meet in Eugene, Oregon on June 30.

Kipyegon, 25, has shaken off rust after two-year sabbatical on maternity break.

However, she feels she will be the oxygen that will fan the rivalry with IAAF Diamond League winner Laura Muir and reigning world number one Shelby Houlihan. Prefontain Classic is the seventh stop in the Diamond League circuit.

"I have no expectations because I have been out for long. I want to ease myself back into competition and take it against the other competitors," she said on Tuesday in Nairobi.

"I have raced them before and won and I still have confidence in my strides to take on anyone. It will be the second time they trio are meeting in two years. Their only previous meeting was at the 2017 Pre Classic 1500, a race won by Kipyegon.

However, Kipyegon will not be frustrated should she fail to measure to expected standard in her return to action saying she eyes to be at the peak ahead of the World Championships in October.

"It is my first competitive race. The target was to defend my crown at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but I have been training since March and will be out to test my limits running with the breaks on. There can only be one way from now, going up to where I was in 2017," she added.

Muir, 26, won her second Diamond League trophy last year and has yet to lose outdoors on the track in 2019, her talent extending beyond the 1500.

In March, she repeated with double European Indoor golds in the 1500 and 3,000 meters. With a British record of 3:55.16, Muir is the second-fastest 1500 runner since the turn of the century.

However, Kipyegon, is the ultimate championships performer, earning gold at the Rio Olympics and London Worlds.

The Kenyan record holder set her best at the 2016 Pre Classic - 3:56.41 is still the fastest ever recorded on U.S. soil.

There will also be Winny Chebet, 28, the African Championships gold medalist, Ethiopia's Gudaf Tsegay, 22, who leads the world outdoors this year at 3:59.57 and Axumawit Embaye.

In the 3,000 meters race, the fastest in the field is Ronald Kwemoi. The 23-year-old with best time of 7:28.73 is making his path in the senior ranks. The Kenyan is also the fastest miler in the field at 3:49.04, which he ran winning the 2017.

His 1,500 best dates back to 2014, when he clocked a staggering 3:28.81 that still stands as the world Junior record.

Joshua Cheptegei, 22, of Uganda won the world cross country championships in March and was silver medalist in the London World 10k is another athlete to watch.

Cheptegei will be joined by fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo, who made it a 1-2 sweep of medals at the world cross country championships.

He won the Junior race in 2017 when it was held at home. Last year he earned silver in the world Junior 10k after a bronze in 2016. Last month he won the Great Manchester Race road 10K by almost a minute in 27:31.

Ethiopia's Milkesa Mengesha will also battle for the medals as well as Kenya's Olympic silver medalists Paul Tanui.