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Masai, Jelimo to return to action in Shanghai

13 May 2013, 19:04 John Kwoba

Nairobi - Former World 10,000m champion Linet Masai will return to competitive action on Saturday during the second leg of the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, China.

Masai, whose last race was in the trials ahead of London Olympics in July in Nairobi, will be up against a spirited field in the 5,000m distance.

She has to pull out her best show if she is to defeat Genzebe Dibaba, Mercy Cherono, Sylvia Kibet, the World 5,000m silver medallist, and Lineth Chepkirui.

"It has been hard to make a comeback. I had planned to return to action in the cross country, but I had a relapse in my preparation and opted to focus on my recovery," Masai said in Nairobi on Monday.

Generally, at least seven athletes who struck track and field gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games are among the 18 past and present Olympic champions who will compete for points at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting.

Also in the field are seven reigning world champions, three world record holders and a total of 26 current Olympic medallists also feature in the star-studded line-ups.

However, there will be need to recover lost ground for some athletes especially World Indoor Champion Pamela Jelimo, World 1,500m winner Asbel Kiprop, Beijing Olympic steeplechase winner Brimin Kipruto and Linet Masai.

The quartet will seek to shake off their rust in a year where they target to shine at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia in August.

"I have all focused on a good run and hopefully, Shanghai will provide the platform. I do not care who will be running against me, but I want to test my body, see where I am in terms of preparedness and hope to work on my weak areas as we approach the World Championships," said Jelimo in Nairobi on Monday.

The men's 400m will be one of the most hotly contested, pitching world and Olympic champion Kirani James against LaShawn Merritt of USA who took gold in Beijing 2008, in the second row waiting Luguelin Santos, Jehue Gordon and Pavel Maslak.

No less than three Olympic champions meet in the men's long jump Frank Rutherford, Irving Saladino and Dwight Phillips along with world and Olympic silver winner Mitchell Watt.

Women 100m will see great clash of Olympic winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and world champion Carmelita Jeter.

Olympics winner Meseret Defar meets in the 5,000m against Linet Masai, Sylvia Kibet but also Genzebe Dibaba who in Doha improved the 1500m. Multi-world record breaker Yelena Isinbayeva tops the women's pole vault entire.

Two of Kenya's Beijing champions - Asbel Kiprop and Brimin Kipruto - head the men's 1,500m and 3,000m steeplechase fields.

Kiprop, will be out to send a message especially against compatriot and World silver medallist over the four-lap distance Silas Kiplagat on who is king. Kiplagat beat Kipruto twice last season, but both failed at the London Olympics.

Over the water and hurdle race, Kipruto, will be up against Paul Kipsiele Koech.

Two more world champions, Lashinda Demus and Olga Saladukha, feature in the women's 400m hurdles and triple jump.

In the 200m Olympic bronze winner Warren Weir will clash with Justin Gatlin and fresh Chinese 100 m record holder Zhang Peimeng. Organizers are informing.

- Xinhua


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