Youngster Noah Kibet dazzles with emphatic performance at Doha Diamond League

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Eighteen year old Noah Kibet, the World Under-20 silver medalist was the toast of the Kenyan contingent at the season-opening Doha leg of the World Athletics Diamond League as he put on a dazzling performance to win the 800m race.

Kibet sat uptop in the leading pack for most of the race and put on some clean sprint to win the race in a time of 1min 49.08secs.

“It feels so good to win. I didn’t expect it. Special thanks to my manager for this opportunity. I’m so happy to see many Kenyans here supporting me, and I look forward to the world championships in Eugene,” the youngster stated after the race.

Noah Kibet strides to victory in the men’s 800m. PHOTO/Diamond League

Kibet remained at the tail of American pacemaker Erik Sowinski in the opening lap of the two-lap race and stepped up his tempo at the bell.

At the home straight, the youngster put in a sprint, with the chasing pack of Canadian Marco Arop and Australian Peter Bol lurking on his shoulder.

Despite the long strides of the two, the relatively short Kibet surged forward with some burning pace before crossing the line in emphatic victory.

Olympic silver medalist Ferguson Rotich finished fifth after clocking 1:50.48, with Bol and Arop finishing second and third respectively.

Abel Kipsang beats world champion Timothy Cheruiyot at the Doha Diamond League. PHOTO/Diamond League

Meanwhile in the 1500m, world champion Timothy Cheruiyot was beaten by Abel Kipsang in another sprint finish, Kipsang building on his win at the Kip Keino Classic last weekend with another emphatic finish.

The Olympic finalist, just like Kibet in the 800m stuck to the front all through the race. At the bell, it was him and Cheruiyot running shoulder to shoulder with the pack reduced to a single file.

In the final 200m, Kipsang struck his finishing kick with Cheruiyot trying to chase him down. However, 30m to the finish line, the world champion didn’t seem to have enough gas to catch up with Kipsang who ended up winning in a time of 3:35.70.

Cheruiyot, who is just recovering from injury timed 3:36.16, his fastest time yet this year.

“It was a good race and I hope to keep improving step by step,” said Cheruiyot after the race.

Francine Niyonsaba beats double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon at the Doha Diamond League. PHOTO/Diamond League

Earlier on, Burundian Francine Niyonsaba beat double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon with a sprint finish in the women’s 3,000m. Niyonsaba clocked a world leading time of 8:37.70 as Kipyegon who stepped up double her traditional distance clocked 8:38.05.

Niyonsaba had led the race from the start, with steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech lurking on her shoulder at second.

With four laps to go, Kipyegon started throwing herself into the leading pack and at the bell, she had already caught up with the Burundian. Ethiopian Gebrzihair Girmawit was also in the leading pack with Chepkoech slowly dropping off.

At the home stretch it was a clear battle between Niyonsaba and Kipyegon, and at the end, it was the Burundian who had enough finishing gas as she edged out Kipyegon who was competing on track for the first time this season.

Chepkoech finished a distant 12th while Edinah Jebitok was placed seventh.

“I am happy to return to Doha for the second time after the world championships in 2019. I feel so happy and grateful. I am so happy that I came and won.I worked hard to be a top athlete. I came from a small country, this win is to inspire others.” Niyonsaba said after the race.

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