Athletics-All five Kenyan world champions to defend titles in Eugene


FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Zurich - Letzigrund, Zurich, Switzerland - September 9, 2021 Kenya's Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir celebrates winning the men's 800m REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - All five Kenyans who won gold at the last World Athletics Championships will defend their titles in Oregon next month after being named in a 47-strong team from the East African track powerhouse.

The team, which also includes Olympic middle distance champions Emmanuel Korir and Faith Kipyegon, was named at the conclusion of the two-day national trials in Nairobi on Saturday.

Timothy Cheruiyot, who won the men's 1500m in Qatar three years ago, will back up along with Conseslus Kipruto and Beatrice Chepkoech, who won the men's and women's steeplechase titles in Doha, as well as women's 5000m champion Hellen Obiri.

Reigning champion Ruth Chepngetich leads a four-strong team for the women's marathon but Kenya's Tokyo Olympic champions Peres Jepchirchir and Eliud Kipchoge have decided to skip the worlds in favour of other challenges.

Korir was selected for the men's 400m and 800m but will have his work cut out in the longer event to beat team mate Wycliffe Kinyamal, who ran one minute 43.54 seconds -- the second fastest time in the world this year -- to win the trials.

Abel Kipsang, the fastest man this year over 1,500m, won a thrilling race at the trials to pip Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Cheruiyot and book his ticket to Oregon.

Nicholas Kimeli, who ran the seventh fastest 5,000m of all time in Rome earlier this month, will also be on the plane to Eugene.

Twice Olympic women's 1,500m champion Kipyegon will be determined to wrest back the world title she won in London in 2017 but lost to Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan in Doha three years ago.

The 18th World Athletics Championships, delayed for a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place from July 15 to 24 at the Hayward Field stadium on the campus of the University of Oregon.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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