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Ethiopia's Ayana to meet Kenya's Obiri in Monaco Diamond League

Nairobi, July 19 (IANS) Olympic winner and 10,000 metre world record holder Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia will finally get her chance to face in-shape Kenyan Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri.

The two were meant to face off in Rome in June, but the Ethiopian Ayana dropped out with injury, reports Xinhua news agency.

Since then Obiri has been red hot winning each of the three events she entered and will be the athlete to watch out for in Monaco when the two clash at the Diamond League meeting on Friday.

It will be Ayana’s first competition this year after injury. Ayana will run against Obiri in the shorter 3000 metres, Laura Muir and Shannon Rowbury. However, the race will miss the sparks of Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba.

“I love my performances. I have no intention of going for world record but to continue winning and put pressure to my competitors. In this race there is always a strong challenger and though I have trained well, I do not expect to win easily.

“I have the advantage of being a strong finisher owing to my experience in the shorter 1,500m race, and so is Ayana. It will be an interesting race with her after seeing what she did in Rio Olympics,” said Obiri.

Last year, over the 5,000m distance Ayana clocked 14:12.59 narrowly missing Tirunesh Dibaba’s 14:11:15 world record in Rome and she is expected to pick up the cue in Monaco as she steadies her form ahead of the World Championships in London next month.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s javelin star Julius Yego is also part of the stellar cast in Monaco where he will check in after making a stop in Lausanne.

He will be up against former Olympic champion Kershorn Walcott from Bahamas, Andreas Hofmann of Germany who holds a personal best of 88.79, Qatari Magour Ahmed Bader, Johannes Vetter, Rohler Thomas (Germany) and Czech’s Vadlejch Jakub.

–IANS
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