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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Tas. Xmas Carnivals.

Tas. Xmas Carnivals.

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1 Tas. Xmas Carnivals. on Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:47 am

JH

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Kombich for carnivals
By JORDAN ABELL
Nov. 27, 2014, 11 p.m.

WORLD-RATED African middle distance runner Ismael Kombich is the latest athlete to be confirmed for the upcoming Fulton Hogan Christmas Carnivals series.
Kenyan runner and world record-holder Ismael Kombich (right) will race at the Christmas Carnivals Series. Picture: Getty Images.

Kenyan runner and world record-holder Ismael Kombich (right) will race at the Christmas Carnivals Series. Picture: Getty Images.

Kombich, 29, was a member of the four-man Kenyan team that  set a world record for the 800 metres relay (7m02.43s) in Belgium in 2006 –  a time that remains unbroken.

He also has a versatile range of personal best times that  are the envy of many athletes, including 400m (47.87s), 800m (1m44.24s), 1000m (2m26.15s), 1500m (3m37.30s) and 2000m (4m58.38s).

Kombich and  Kenyan teammates Elijah Kiptoo and Festus Tallam are set to ignite middle distance running events at the carnivals.

That will start with the 1600m invitation indoor challenge at Launceston’s Silverdome on Saturday, December 27, against local hope Jake Birtwhistle, who upstaged his more fancied rivals in front of almost 3000 spectators last year.

The series will receive great support from powerful mainland stables, with prominent trainers Mark Hipworth, John Henry, Matt Beckenham, Bruce Scriven and Brad Armstrong sending a total of nearly 30 athletes.

Mike Gunson, president of the Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania and Athletics Tasmania, said yesterday that he was excited by the depth and quality of the overseas and interstate contingent.

‘‘Ismael Kombich is a seriously good athlete,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s not often that we get reigning world record-holders in Tasmania. The middle distance running should be fantastic.’’

Victorian Michael Marantelli, from the 12-member Hipworth squad, will be aiming for at least a fourth straight placing in the time-honoured Burnie Mile on New Year’s Day.

Henry, the veteran Melbourne mentor who has made the Coast his Christmas home for the past five years, will be represented by seven athletes, including  rising star of Australian professional running Luke Stevens and carnivals sprint specialist Matt Hargreaves.

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