The Kip Keino Classic schedule is out: Here are 5 events you won’t want to miss

The event will take place in an empty stadium.

NAIROBI, KENYA - JULY 15: A general view on day four of the IAAF U18 World Championships at the Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for IAAF)

The second edition of the 2021 Absa Kip Keino Classic is set to take place today, Saturday, September 17 in the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and the Olympic schedule is finally here!

In less than six hours, get ready to a total of 265 athletes both local and international bundled-up athletes compete in an empty 60,000 sitting capacity stadium. Here are our picks for events on the schedule worth watching:

100m men

Kenya’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala will line up in a stellar field that includes American duo Justin Gatlin and Trayvon Bromell. Bromell who has shown great form this year having run a world-leading time of 9.77 and having won the US Olympic Trials will be the star to watch.

However, it is worth noting that Omanyala broke the national record thrice in less than a month, equaling the previous record first, then going ahead to smash this record thrice.

The former rugby player became the first Kenyan to run the 100m in less than 10 seconds in an Athletes' Meet in Austria, running 9.96 seconds in the semi-final, and an astonishing 9.86 seconds in the final.

200m men

Olympic silver medalist American Fred Kerley and Commonwealth Games 400m champion Isaac Makwala from Botswana are expected to lit up the empty stadium when they face off in the 200m race.

Kerley is a sprinter known primarily for competing in the 400 meters distance. After the pandemic, Kerley chose to focus on the 100 meters during the Olympic cycle to improve his basic speed for future attempts at a sub-43 400 m.

The decision to move down paid off as he won the silver medal in the 100 m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a 9.84 performance; that personal best time makes Kerley the fifteenth fastest man in history over the straightaway sprint.

Kerley is one of only 3 men along with Michael Norman and Wayde Van Niekerk to go sub 10 seconds in 100m, sub 20 seconds in 200m and sub 44 seconds in 400m.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Kerley ran a personal best time of 9.84 to place second in the 100m finals behind Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy. Prior to the finals, Kerley clocked 9.96 to win his semifinal heat.

200m women

Fresh from sweeping the Wanda Diamond League circuit, Namibia's Christine Mboma returns to her favourite hunting ground in Nairobi.

The Kasarani stadium holds a special place in the 18-year-old's burgeoning career. It is the scene of her World Athletics Under-20 Championship 200m title triumph last month, when she also raced in a 4x100m final leg to secure silver for Namibia.

Mboma set a 200m championship record of 21,84 seconds when leading a Namibian one-two podium finish, with Beatrice Masilingi taking the silver.

Mboma backed up her impressive debut performance with a new World Under-20 record 21,78 seconds at the Diamond League finals in Zurich last week.

The Namibian will be up against Marie-Josee Ta Lou. At Tokyo, the Ivorian finished fourth in the women’s 100m final for the second consecutive Olympics as Jamaica claimed a clean sweep of the medals.

3,000m steeplechase men

Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco was the first foreign athlete to arrive in Kenya ahead of the Absa Kipkeino Classic.

The Moroccan is fresh from finishing second at the Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday, a race won by Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen.

El Bakkali ended Kenya’s long dominance in the steeplechase race at the Olympics when he won a gold medal at the Tokyo Games last month.

Kenya had captured the discipline at all editions since 1968 apart from two editions that the country boycotted.

Newly crowned world U20 champion Amos Serem and Diamond League winner Benjamin Kigen will be there to try and make sure that a Kenyan wins the event that has always been the nation’s pride in major track and field meetings across the world.

3,000m steeplechase women

Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai will be present. The Ugandan's gold medal was the first by a female athlete in the country's Olympic history and will be seeking another feather on her cap.

Olympic bronze medalist Hyvin Kiyeng will be hoping to benefit from home advantage in her bid to turn tables on Olympic champion Chemutai.

Kiyeng finished third in 9:05.39 at the Tokyo Olympics, behind Chemutai (9:01.45) and American Courtney Friedrich (9:04.79).

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