James Magayi @magayijim
Red-hot two-lap runner Wycliffe Kinyamal will make his maiden run on US soil as the third IAAF Diamond League leg guns off in Eugene, Oregon tonight.
Although the race is not a point-clincher in the series, Kinyamal, the season’s revelation from Kenya will mete his talent against tried and tested veterans of 800m including former world indoor champion Adam Kszczot from Poland and former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana.
The 20-year-old, touted as David Rudisha’s heir to the 800m throne, introduced himself to the world with a golden finish to this year’s Commonwealth Games and another fast-paced performance in Shanghai’s leg of the Diamond League.
Kinyamal’s personal best time over the distance remains 1:43.94 set in Roveto, Italy in August last year but the hungry runner now looks to better the time. He posted 1:44.72 in Nairobi earlier in the year and hinges his hopes of running faster on competing world-class athletes.
“My focus right now is running faster times and just lowering the personal best time to digits more scary to my competitors. That way, I will have to be chasing it all the time and that will make me more competitive,” he said ahead of tonight’s race.
A star-studded 5,000m women’s field will pit current world champion Helen Obiri against dreaded Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba who holds six career world records. Obiri has immensely impressed since transitioning from the mile in early 2016. The Kenyan has entrenched herself as the one to beat over the distance but will have to be at her best to weather Dibaba’s storm.
Former world youth champion and U20 silver medallist Lilian Kasait is in the race with a great chance of upsetting the big two as is former Africa Cross-Country winner Alice Aprot.