Bett fired-up for Monaco challenge, targets new Personal Best

Chief Athletics Writer

World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Leonard Bett is relishing the competitive field he will be facing Friday night as the first leg of the 2020 Diamond League series goes down in Stade Louis II, Monaco, France.

Bett is the only Kenyan in the water and barriers race that will see him face four of the top five finishers at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Among them are world silver medalist Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia and bronze medalist Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco.

While he is wary of the enormous task that awaits him, Bett is however focused on lowering his personal best time (PB) of 8:08.61

“I thank God for this chance to compete in Monaco considering the health challenges we are currently facing. I think I am in good shape because I have been training despite the disruptions brought about the Covid-19.

“I know it is going to be a competitive race with the likes of Girma and El Bakkali in the field. However, I believe everybody has their own seasons and for me I am going to try and lower my personal best time because it is through these races that we grow,” Bett told Citizen Digital on phone from Monaco.

Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto was forced to withdraw from the meet after giving a positive Covid-19 test in Nairobi just before he was to board the plane to Europe.

Elsewhere, the women’s 5000m will bring together three world champions as Dutchwoman Hassan, who broke the world mile record at this meeting last year, and Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech have elected to join Helen Obiri in a clash of the titans.

World champion Timothy Cheruiyot, who dominated the 1,500m internationally last year, faces a substantial challenge from world indoor mile record-holder Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia and the Ingebrigtsen brothers – Jakob and Filip.

The women’s 1,000m will bring together some of the world’s best over both 800m and 1500m with Nakaayi of Uganda meeting world 800m silver medallist Raevyn Rogers and Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon.

At the same time, world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda has set his sights on the long-standing 5,000m world record.

The 23-year-old is out to smash the 16-year-old world record of 12:37.35 set by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.

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