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Timothy Cheruiyot the world 1500 metre champion has been added to the squad for Tokyo 2020.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Kenyan Olympic team,” Cheruiyot, now the favourite for gold, told Agence-France Presse.
Cheruiyot made the team at the 11th hour as until the July 9 Monaco Diamond League meet, he was nursing a hamstring injury. However, in Monaco, he ran a new personal best of 3:28.28, which is the fastest time since 2015 and seventh-best all-time.
The 25-year-old is looking forward to taking on Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who owns the European record of 3:28.68.
In 2017, Cheruiyot earned a silver medal at the London World Championships, finishing in the time of 3:33.99. In 2019, he took gold in Doha with a 3:29.26 performance. He is a three-time national champion and 20-time Diamond League winner – he likes a fast race. For Tokyo, he will need to drop tactics and pull Ingebrigtsen out to a fast time, to limit any kick that the 20-year-old Norweigan may have.
Tokyo will be the first Olympic Games for both athletes.
Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj owns the current world record at 3:26.00 from his July 1999 performance in Rome.
Mohamad Katir of Spain with his Monaco Diamond League performance of 3:28.76 will look to upset the Kenyan. Challenging will be several other athletes who have run top-level all-time performances recently including Jake Wightman (3:29.47) Great Britain, Stewart McSweyn (3:29.51) Australia, Josh Kerr (3:31.55) GB and Kenyan Charles Sibwoto who clocked a 3:30.30 in Monaco. Nick Willis made his fifth-consecutive team. He won a silver in 2008 Beijing and a bronze in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Americans Matthew Centrowitz, Cole Hocker, and Yared Nuguse will toe the line. At the US Olympic Trials, the three went 1-2-3, however, surprisingly Hocker took the race in the time of 3:35.28. Centrowitz clocked a 3:35.34. Nuguse finished in 3:36.19.