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Berihu Aregawi, Yomif Kejelcha vying for 5km world title in Riga

Addis Ababa, September 19, 2023 (FBC) – Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi and Yomif Kejelcha are strong favorites for world title at the World Athletics Road Running Championships Riga 23 as chase they chase the men’s 5km race in the Latvian capital.

The two Ethiopian athletes are the fastest men in history in the men’s road 5km, the world athletics governing body data confirms.

The 2023 World Athletics Road Running Championships are scheduled to take place in Riga, Latvia, on 1 October 2023. As the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships, they will include the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships, which were last held in 2020.

According to the final entry lists published for World Athletics Road Running Championships Riga 23, Berihu Aregawi, Hagos Gebrehiwot, Freweyni Hailu and Diribe Welteji are among the big names to lead the Ethiopian athletics team in Riga on 1 October.

The entry lists further indicate that five world record-holders in the six championship events are among the entries for the inaugural Road Running Championships event.

Including Olympic and world champions, a total of 347 athletes – 152 women and 195 men – from 57 teams have been entered to compete in the Latvian capital, where global titles in the road mile, 5km and half marathon are up for grabs together at one championships for the first time.

In the women’s road mile, Freweyni Hailu, Hirut Meshesha and Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia will go head to head against Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon.

The men’s entries include Ethiopia’s Taddese Lemi and Melkneh Azize, USA’s Sam Prakel, and Kenya’s Reynold Kipkorir Cheruiyot and Kyumbe Munguti.

The women’s 5km podium features the 5km mixed race world record-holder Ejgayehu Taye of Ethiopia and her compatriot Lemlem Hailu, Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet, Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai and Japan’s Nozomi Tanaka.

Three of the four fastest men in history clash in the men’s 5km: Ethiopia’s world record-holder Berihu Aregawi, his compatriots Yomif Kejelcha, Hagos Gebrehiwot and Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir. Berihu Aregawi set his record of 12:49 in Barcelona on the final day of 2021 – at the same event where Ejigayehu Taye set her record mark of 14:19.

The women’s half marathon will feature Ethiopia’s Tsigie Gebreselama, Yalemget Yaregal, Ftaw Zeray, Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo.

The men’s half marathon entries include Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer Mekonnen, his compatriots Nibret Melak, Dinkalem Ayele, and Tsegay Kidanu, as well as Kenya’s world 10,000m silver medalist Daniel Simiu Ebenyo.

An action-packed day of elite racing begins with the women’s 5km at 11:50am local time and closes with the men’s half marathon at 2:15pm.

Mass races will be held alongside the championships to give recreational runners the chance both to run the championship courses and watch the best in the world compete, as part of this unique global festival of road running.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “This is the first time we have staged an event that celebrates road running in all its guises, from the elite runners, to dedicated recreational runners, to runners who are just starting out, including the kids. With races over the mile, 5km and half marathon, this event showcases the great middle distance and endurance road runners of the world together for the first time, and features the primary entry points for a recreational runner’s journey. The great beauty of running is its accessibility and this event offers something for everyone, including plenty of inspiration for those who want to make running part of their lives.”

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