Meli’s big dreams ahead of the virtual race
After years of being on the side lines due to protracted injury concerns, Edwin Meli is now keen to leave a mark when he competes in the Mauri Plant Memorial race on Thursday.
The athlete is in the Kenyan team dubbed ‘Team Cheruiyot’ that will be facing off with ‘Team Ingebrigtsen’ of Norway in the historic virtual 2000m race that will be held in two different venues concurrently due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
While the Kenyans will be competing at Nyayo National Stadium, their counterparts will be chasing victory at the Bislett Stadium in Oslo.
Meli who is a 800m specialist will team up with compatriots- world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Commonwealth Games champion Elijah Manangoi.
The trio will be up against Norwegian brothers-Filip, Jakob and Henrik Ingebrigsten.
While Cheruiyot and Manangoi may have already scaled to higher heights in their careers bagging several gold and silver medals between them, for Meli, he will be seeking to reignite his career when he races alongside the world beaters.
Meli’s career was heading in an upward trajectory when he won a bronze medal in 800m at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
He placed third behind the reigning Africa 800m champion Nigel Amos of Botswana who won gold and compatriot Timothy Kitum who clinched silver.
Also, in the Kenyan team was the current World 3000m steeplechase world champion Conseslus Kipruto and Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon who won gold in their respective events.
However, a combination of groin and tendon injuries over the past decade led to his career taking a new twist.
“It has been a challenge for me since I have had to struggle with injuries along the way. However, I am happy that I am now fully fit and focused in my training. I know that the future is bright,” Meli told Citizen Digital.
The 26-year-old who joined Rongai Athletics Club last year said he is now in the process of shifting his specialisation to 1500m while also hailing his coach Bernard Ouma.
He said the prospect of training with serial winners gives him extra motivation as he gears towards next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“I have been training for 1500m and I am certain that I will continue with the race even after the virtual race. My body has also been responding well,” he said.
The race is set to start at 9.50pm Kenya time, 8.50pm in Norway.