Athletics: Ngeny girded for flood of world marks

SUCH HAS been the quality of Noah Ngeny's running in the past fortnight that he now finds himself in a position where great things are expected of him every time he sets foot on a track.

Such expectation can be something of a mixed blessing, but this 20-year- old Kenyan appears to be enjoying the attention his sudden rise to prominence has engendered. At the Stade Charlety tonight, Ngeny - pronounced "Knee- Yen", by the way - will seek to better the 1,500 metres world record of 3min 26sec set by Morroco's Hicham El Guerrouj last year.

El Guerrouj was to have run the event himself in what is the third of seven scheduled Golden League meetings, but withdrew on Friday because of illness. In his absence, the man who chased him home over the mile in Rome a fortnight ago will attempt to earn the glory which his prodigious talents deserves.

El Guerrouj's metric mile record was an outstanding one, taking 1.37sec off the previous mark set by Algeria's Noureddine Morceli, but Ngeny is ready to have a crack at it. "I'm going to try," he said. "My form is not a surprise to me. I have been training hard and doing well."

That is an understatement. His time as a runner-up to El Guerrouj was 3min 43.4sec, the second fastest in history. And last Saturday he missed Sebastian Coe's long-standing world 1,000m record by less than 0.5sec as he recorded 2min 12.66sec, 0.48sec outside the mark the Briton set in Oslo in 1981.

Ngeny's coach and agent, Kim McDonald, based in Teddington, believes that his man can eventually hold the world records at 1,000m, 1,500m, the mile and 2,000m. "Noah could run at least 1:43 over 800m and while he is not as fast as Coe over 800, he is considerably faster at the mile and potentially at 1,500."

While McDonald acknowledges that the task facing Ngeny tonight is not an easy one, he does not rule out the chances of a new mark being set. "We have seen that he is in great shape," McDonald said. "Last year there was a clear gap between El Guerrouj and the rest. Now there are two at the top and I don't see any others competing."

The world 100m record holder, Maurice Greene, who confirmed earlier this week that he will be running at the CGU British Grand Prix on 7 August, runs tonight over 200m, where he is seeking to make an impact in the absence of Ato Boldon. His friend and training partner had to pull out after sustaining a niggling injury while training for the meeting. "I feel that I want to do something special here because Ato is not in the race," Greene said. "I will be happy with the fastest time in the world." That, as Greene is no doubt well aware, belongs to Boldon and stands at 19.86sec.

Greene, who took 0.05sec off the world 100m mark with his time of 9.79sec last month, refuses to concede that he cannot go faster. "I broke the record," he said. "Fine. But I believe I can go faster. I can't tell myself that I have the world record, so I can do what I want. I have to keep working to keep progressing.

"It's one of my goals to beat the world record at the World Championships in Seville next month. If not, why should I keep running? Having the record doesn't change the job I have to do."

For seven other athletes tonight, the job is more straightforward. Marion Jones (200m), Svetlana Masterkova (800m), Allen Johnson (110m hurdles), Erick Walder (long jump), Gabriela Szabo (3,000m), Wilson Kipketer (800m) and Bernard Barasai (3,000m steeplechase) are all still in the running for a share of the $1m Golden League jackpot on offer to those who win their event at each of the seven meetings and finish off with victory in the IAAF Grand Prix final.

Jones, hardly troubled in her two previous Golden League victories in Oslo and Rome, faces her most serious challenge so far this season in the shape of the home runner Christine Arron. The Frenchwoman was beaten by Jones over 100m in the Charlety stadium a year ago, when the American recorded 10.88sec. But Arron went on to take the European title with a time of 10.73sec, only 0.02sec off Jones's legal personal best for the event.

Britain's world triple jump record holder, Jonathan Edwards, who has been troubled by an injury to his left foot, has withdrawn from this weekend's CGU World Trials and AAA's Championships as a precaution.

"I don't want to risk further complications with Seville being so close," said Edwards, who is certain to gain a discretionary place for the World Championships.

Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, say DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin