Athletes upbeat of return to action as Cheruiyot loses to Ingebrigtsen in Impossible Games

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NAIROBI, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Team Cheruiyot may have lost to their rivals from Norway Team Ingebrigsten in the virtual Impossible Games on Thursday night, but it was a great relief as athletics action returned to the menu.

Kenyan fans celebrated Team Cheruiyot for their brave show in a cold, windy and rainy Nairobi for the one race held in two cities, two altitudes. Oslo is 23 meters above sea level while Nairobi is high above at 1,795 meters, which makes it harder to produce fast time.

The team in Nairobi had world 1,500 champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Commonwealth Games winner Elijah Manangoi. The two were joined by training partners Edwin Melly, Vincent Keter, and Timothy Sein.

Team Ingebrigtsen had Jakob and his brothers Filip and Henrik, joined by Narve Gilje Nordas and Per Sevla.

The 19-year-old European champion pulled away from his older brother in the closing seconds to claim the European 2,000m record in 4:50.01. Henrik (4:53.72) and Filip (4:56.91) were both ahead of Kenyan leader Cheruiyot (5:03.05) to secure an emphatic win, 14:40.64 to 15:34.80 combined for the respective front threes.

Coach Bernard Ouma, who trains Team Cheruiyot, was happy his athletes have been able to get off the blocks after a long spell without action, despite them not recording a faster time.

"It wasn't an equal race but still enjoyed and satisfied with the performance. Congratulations to Jakob Ingebrigtsen and his teammates. We look forward to competing with you in Europe, USA or Asia in more normal circumstances," Ouma told reporters in Nairobi on Thursday.

Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack Tuwei said the Impossible Games heralds a new dawn for the sport as they focus on returning to competition after six months of no action.

"We salute Team Ingebrigsten for winning the 2,000 meters event of the Impossible Games with Jakob Ingebrigsten setting a new European record of 4:50.01. It is also a big up for the Kenyans Team Cheruiyot for your brave show in a cold, windy and rainy Nairobi. It was a unique race in two cities, two altitudes, Oslo is 23 meters and Nairobi 1,795 meters," Tuwei told reporters in Nairobi.

Athletics' action is due to a resume with Diamond League in Monaco on August 10 while the Continental Tour series starts in Turkey on June 8. Enditem

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