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Nairobi is braced for the biggest track and field showdown of the year, Kip Keino Classic, as top athletes’ relishes racing in Kenya, the cradle of middle- and long-distance running.
Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs is relishing his Nairobi debut and another match-up with the American Fred Kerley alongside homeboy and Africa record holder Ferdinand Omanyala at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani,
The 27-year-old Italian promised a fast time during the press conference yesterday ahead of the race.
“It will be important for me to win this one, and I hope to run faster than ever,” said Jacobs.
The exciting event has brought together 160 athletes among them Olympic champions, existing world champions and future champions.
American Fred Kerley, who holds best of 9.84sec from Tokyo, is looking forward to a meeting on a track he knows well having competed at the second edition last year.
“I’m happy and look forward to running fast at Kasarani where I ran a PB in 200m in September,” said Kerley.
On his part Omanyala, who ran an African record 9.77sec to finish second to American Trayvon Bromell last year, expressed confidence and is not intimidated by the big boys of the event.
“The main reason I participated at the Indoors series and World Indoors in Belgrade was to sharpen my take off, which has improved and I can say, I’m ready for Kip Keino Classic,” said Omanyala.
“The line-up is impressive, it’s a great opportunity for me to run with these caliber of athletes in front of my home fans. Expect a fantastic race.”
The corresponding women’s event will see the multiple World and Olympic sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce go head-to-head with last year’s World Athletics Under-20 200m gold medallist Christine Mboma of Namibia.
But Jamaican has just promised to have fun and give the crowd the best performance.