Keith McGhie in Birmingham @peoplesport11
Five Kenyans will begin their bid for medals in the IAAF World Indoor Championships at a snow-encrusted Arena Birmingham today.
As sub-zero temperatures continue to grip Britain amid the coldest February the country has experienced for several years, Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir, Beatrice Chepkoech, Winnie Chebet, Bethwell Birgen and David Kiplangat all contest qualifying rounds in their chosen distances.
Inside the welcome warmth of the Arena which also staged the 2003 Championships, it will be a major surprise if Korir fails to make tomorrow’s 800m Final, despite surprisingly failing to negotiate the same semi-final hurdle over the same distance at the World Outdoor Championships in London last August.
The fast emerging 22-year-old Kenyan ran the fourth fastest indoor 800m of all time when he smashed the national and African record with 1 minute 44.21 seconds at the Millrose Games in New York less than a month ago.
Shortly after 10pm (Kenyan time) Korir will step onto the slightly banked 200m track knowing that he must ultimately beat the likes of Poland’s indoor 800m specialist Adam Kszczot, unbeaten in six outings at the distance this winter, and in-form Americans Donavan Brazier and Drew Windle, if he is to secure gold the following day. Just 35 minutes after Korir’s appearance, Beatrice Chepkoech and late entry Chebet line up in the women’s 1,500m heats.