Kenyan’s Chespol to skip Monaco Diamond League

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Nairobi, July 19 (IANS) World Junior steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol will skip the Monaco Diamond League meeting to avoid burning out ahead of the Africa Championships.

According to Kenya’s head coach Stephen Mwaniki, Chespol, who won gold at the World U-20 Championships in Finland last week, will not be allowed to travel to Monaco, reports Xinhua news agency.

“She has no permission to compete in Monaco from the federation and we expect her in camp after returning from Finland,” Mwaniki said here on Wednesday.

Organisers of the Monaco Diamond League had slotted Chespol to compete in the water and hurdle race together with World Champion Emma Coburn of the US, current world leader Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya and Oslo’s Diamond League winner Hyvin Kiyeng.

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“She is still young and we must treat her carefully. If exposed too early she may burn out and fail to deliver the performance required at the Africa Championships,” said Mwaniki.

The Senior Africa Athletics Championships will be held in Asaba, Nigeria from Aug 1-5. The Kenya team of 60 athletes is due to jet out on July 28.

“Currently, I have 50 athletes in camp with the others having been allowed to fly to Monaco for the Diamond League. Some will also go to London (July 20) for the next round of the Diamond League and after that we expect them to focus on training for the continental championships,” added Mwaniki.

Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) technical director Vivian Gungaram has already given thumbs up sign for the competition after touring the venue.

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Gungaram said in a statement he was satisfied with the level of preparedness of the country to host the event.

“It is my second inspection visit and a lot of work has been finalized. I am sure the venue will be ready by this week,” Gungaram said.

Kenya finished in second position during the last championship in Durban with eight gold, eight silver and eight bronze behind the hosts South Africa who amassed 33 medals while Nigeria were third with 16 medals. But Mwaniki is confident Kenya will secure the overall title this time round.

The top two runners from each discipline at the Africa Championships will qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup scheduled for Ostrava, Czech Republic on September 8-9.

–IANS

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