Kenya's elite stars dream to conquer Nanjing World Indoor Championships in 2020

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-19 19:50:56|Editor: ZX
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NAIROBI, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Olympic and African champions are looking forward to amassing points in next season's IAAF World Indoor Tour, which will count towards the 2020 World Indoor Championships to be staged in Nanjing, China.

Former world indoor champion Helen Obiri, Olympic 1,500m winner Faith Kipyegon, steeplechaser Bethwell Birgen, Ferguson Rotich and Winnie Chebet are some of the stars from Kenya that will seek to start their 2020 season with a speed test in the indoor circuit.

Nanjing was named the host of the World Indoor Championships after the city was recognized as the best place to host, winning out over Belgrade (Serbia) and Torun (Poland).

Birgen, the only medalist from Kenya in the 2018 World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England, hopes he will upgrade his bronze medal to gold in the Chinese city of Nanjing.

"The 2019 season is almost over. After the World Championships in Doha, we will go for a short break and hope to return starting with the indoor circuit. There is also the cross country circuit. However, I will focus on the indoor championships in 2020," Birgen said in Nairobi on Thursday.

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has added the Meeting Pas de Calais in Levin, France to the IAAF World Indoor Tour for 2020.

"The long-running meeting has been one of the premier indoor athletics competitions for the past three decades and has played host to many memorable performances, including the men's and women's world indoor 200m records," said IAAF in a statement on Thursday.

It joins the six existing World Indoor Tour competitions - in Boston, Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf, Torun, Glasgow and Madrid - for the 2020 series that will span a four-week period in the run-up to the IAAF World Athletics Indoor Championships Nanjing 2020.

Over 200 athletes are expected to compete at the World Indoor Championships, which will take place from March 13-15 next year.

Nanjing, a city of more than 8 million people, staged the 2014 Olympic Youth Games and is building a stadium specifically for the World Indoor Championships in the Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park. It will offer a permanent legacy as an athletics training center after the championships.

"I look forward to celebrating the very best of world athletics in 2020 in Nanjing," said IAAF president Seb Coe. "The hosting of these championships will assist the development of an already established and growing culture of athletics in China."

During the bid award in 2017, Hu Wanjin, Vice Mayor of Nanjing, said it was a great honor for the city to win the right to host the event.

"The whole city will spare no effort to deliver a wonderful sports festival," Hu told IAAF.