By Joseph Ngure and Jonathan Komen
ELDORET; KENYA: A Ugandan athlete signaled a warning to Kenyans after displaying mastery in cross-country running during the sixth Kenya Commercial Bank Athletics Kenya meet in Eldoret on Saturday.
Soyekwo Kibet from Bukwo Village in Uganda beat a strong Kenyan line-up of more than 130 athletes to win the senior men’s 12 kilometres race as 2010 World cross-country champion Joseph Ebuya made a comeback.
The Ugandan sped off half-way the race and hanged on to the lead to claim the title in 34:44.5, some 15 seconds gap from his closest challenger.
“Though I was not expecting it, it was easy. I did not get strong opposition as I had anticipated,” said Ugandan who trains at Kaptagat under Barcelona Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase silver winner, Patrick Sang.
The 40th IAAF World Cross will be in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on March 24.
During the race held at Eldoret Polytechnic, the winner of the senior men’s world cross title Joseph Ebuya sent signals to return to the Polish city after finishing fourth in 35:30.7.
Former world half marathon champion, Wilson Kiprop (35:21.3), finished third behind Julius Kogo, who was second in 35:00.2.
In senior women, All Africa Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng won after edging out favourite Linet Chepkirui, a cross-country titan, with sprint finish.
Kiyeng stopped the clock in 26:57.7, while Chepkirui finished behind in 26:57.9. Upcoming Beatrice Chepkemoi timed 26:59.2, beating Frankfurt marathon runner-up Georgina Rono (27:02.7).
Edith Chelimo (27:11.1), Gladys Kipsoi (27:19.8), Viola Kibiwott (27:23.7) and Fridah Domongole (27:35.6) followed for top seven positions.
World cross-country junior champion Faith Chepng’etich, who won in Punta Umbria in 2011, silenced her rivals in the 6km race. She finished in 20:23.9 where Jackpot chasers Roseline Chepng’etich and Agnes Chebet came second and third in 20:26.4 and 20:40.0. Sheila Chepng’etich (20:44.5) and former Africa cross-country junior champion Caroline Chepkoech (20:48.0) followed.