Olympic 100m silver medallist, United States’ Fred Kerley and Commonwealth 400m champion Isaac Makwala of Botswana have promised a sumptuous 200m race when they face-off at the Absa Kip Keino Classic on Saturday.
Kerley, who is the first athlete to win the 100m and 400m series at the Diamond League, said he is out to leave a big impression competing for the first time in Africa.
On the other hand, Makwala, who is on his third return to Kenya, said he wants to end the season in style before focusing on his Commonwealth 400m title defence and World Championships next year where he intends to hang his spikes.
They were speaking Thursday on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport ahead of the Kip Keino Classic, the last leg in the 2021 World Athletics Gold Tour at the Moi International Sports Centre.
“I am glad to visit my motherland Africa for the first time and this isn’t the last time,” vowed Kerley, adding while it was a blessing to come out of Tokyo Olympics with silver but competing in Kenya, the land of one of his role models, World 800m record holder, David Rudisha, is humbling.
“I feel upbeat to come back home and for sure I look forward to facing the likes of Makwala and finishing the season strong,” said Kerley, who won this year’s Diamond League’s 100m series and the 400m series in 2018.
Kerley, the 2019 World 400m bronze medallist, said he will consult his coach Alleyne Francique on the event to take between 100m, 200m and 400m at the World Championships next year. “I will continue to train in all the three events.”
Makwala, 35, said he has been away from Africa since May to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics where they won bronze in the 4x400m relay. “I want to try and qualify for the World Championships on Saturday. It’s possible to run sub 20.2 in Nairobi,” said Makwala.