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Wilson Kipketer is Back

Wilson Kipketer is back: the star of Paris ’97 to compete in Maebashi
24 February 1999 – Monte Carlo – Wilson Kipketer, world record holder and world champion in the 800m, will compete in the 7th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Maebashi (5-7 March).

The formidable Danish athlete not only won the 800m indoor title in Paris two years ago but also set two new world records for the distance, with a mark of 1:42.67 in the final demolishing the 1:43.96 he clocked in the heats. He will be one of the great attractions of this year’s edition, which looks set to be the greatest ever staged in the history of the event.

Just over a year ago, Kipketer caught malaria whilst on holiday in his native Kenya. His recovery has been long and difficult, but his iron will and athlete’s determination helped him overcome the residual effects of the sickness and make a sensational return to the track: 1:43.74 on 8 August in Monte Carlo and 1:43.18 in Zurich, just four days later.

But Kipketer was to pay for this effort at the European Championships in Budapest, where he finished last in the final with a time of 1:50.13. This result convinced the world record holder to interrupt his season and to undergo some detailed medical tests.

At the start of the autumn, he once again got back into training, this time in the mild climate of Monte Carlo and the French Riviera, before heading off to Australia for the winter. Guided by his Polish coach, Slawomir Novak, Kipketer has now fully recovered the top form which enabled him to beat, in the 1997 outdoor season, Sebastian Coe’s longstanding 800m record of 1:41.73, taking it first to 1:41.24 and finally to 1:41.11.