May 28th 2017

Sports / Updates

Kenya, U.S. strong favourites for World Relays 4x800m title

The Australian team, which includes Luke Matthews and Jordan Williamsz, should contend for a top-three finish, but are unlikely to challenge for the win.

By David JagongoWednesday, 19 Apr 2017 17:49 EAT

(L-R)-Kenya's Sammy Kibet, Job Kinyor, Ferguson Rotich and Kirongo Kipketer celebrate after winning the Mens 4x800 metres relay at the 2014 World Relays in Nassau Bahamas

If the brief history of the IAAF World Relays is to be relied upon, then it appears the United States, Kenya and Poland will duke it out for the title in the men’s 4x800m final in Bahamas on Sunday night. The U.S. are reigning champions, having obliterated their opposition to win in a swift 7:04.84 in Nassau, Bahamas in 2015, five seconds ahead of Poland.

They return to Nassau for the third edition of the event slated for April 22-23 with an equally formidable line-up this year, headed by Olympic 800m bronze medallist Clayton Murphy. Murphy started his season in superlative fashion with a world-leading time of 1:43.60 at the Mt Sac Relays last weekend. He will be backed up by a squad boasting the talents of Casimir Loxsom, Erik Sowinski, Charles Jock and Brandon Kidder.

On paper, Kenya appears to be the team with the best chance of deposing the US, with Ferguson Rotich, Kipyegon Bett, Alfred Kipketer,Timothy Kitum and Cornelius Tuwei and  in their ranks. They took the title at the inaugural edition of this event in 2014, narrowly edging Poland after a thrilling final leg.

Bett clocked a noteworthy 1:44.2 in Nairobi earlier this month, where he led home Cheruiyot (1:44.7) and Kipketer (1:45.5). For good measure Kitum also ran faster than 1:46 in the same race, giving the Kenyans impressive strength in depth heading to Nassau.

Kenya  has entered a team of 30 athletes- to  compete in the men's 4 x 200m, women's 4x 200m, men's 4x400m, women's 4x400m  men's 4x800m and 4x400 mixed relays The 4x100m teams failed to attain the qualifying times.

Poland, whose team is headed up by world class duo Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski, is another team to watch.Their tactical nous will prove a major asset in this relay format. They were part of the Polish teams which finished second in 2014 and 2015, and with 1:44.89 man Artur Kuciapski in their ranks, they are a team worthy of respect.

Ethiopia's middle distance runner Genzebe Dibaba's women's 2000m new World record (2;23.75) has been ratified by the IAAF

The Australian team, which includes Luke Matthews and Jordan Williamsz, should contend for a top-three finish, but are unlikely to challenge for the win. Meanwhile, the IAAF has ratified the women's 2000m World record of 2:23.75, set by Ethiopia Genzebe Dibaba in Sabadel, Spain on February 7. She smashed the previous 225.36 mark set by  Ireland's Sonia O'Sulivan on July 8, 1994 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Also ratified by the global athletics governing body is Klaudia Siciarz's women's 60m hurdles mark of 8.0 (8 seconds), which she set in Torun, Poland on February 18. She bettered Germany's Ulrike Denk and France's Monique Ewanje Epee's mark of 8.06, which they set in Dortmund Germany and  Madrid, Spain in February 19, 1983 and February 22, 1986 respectively.

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