By Jonathan Komen

NAIROBI; KENYA: Africa cross-country sensation Timothy Kiptoo successfully defended his 12km title at the Kenya Prisons cross-country championships in Nairobi.

Kiptoo battled at the muddy Uhuru Gardens course for team spots to KCB/AK national cross-country championships at the same venue.

Kiptoo, representing Rift Valley, displayed his great shape by taking charge in the first lap, winning in 37.18.0.

Former world championships marathon champion, Luke Kibet, world 1,500m silver medalist Silas Kiplagat and 2008 world 3,000m steeplechase junior champion Jonathan Muiya hanged on the chasing pack.

Second group had about eight athletes led by Muiya and former Africa cross-country champion, John Mwangangi.

At the bell, he had opened a 100-metre gap and it was clear there was no body to challenge him.

Tough battle

Musyoki won the endurance battle for second place in 37:36.6 ahead of Kogo (37:46.7) and Simon Cherop (38:02.2).

Philemon Cheboi (38:06.7), Charles Cheruiyot (38:20.0) and former Africa king Mwangangi (38:34.0) followed as Kibet disappeared off the radar.

Kiptoo said: “I expected challenge from Kiplagat and Musyoki. And that’s why I broke away early enough knowing that they have strong finishing kicks.”

Little known Eunice Kioko showed no respect for an elite line-up to top the women’s ight-kilometre race.

Kioko, a mother of a seven-year-old child, summoned a never-say-die spirit to win in 28:31.0. Her Machakos team mate, Pauline Kanyeke, checked in second in 28:36.4) as Faida Jepkirui (28:41.2), Susan Lekapana (28:49.6) and Priscila Lorchima (29:12.5) wound up second, third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Edna Rotich, the world half marathon great, could not feature in top ten.

Kioko, 24, said: “The presence of top athletes boosted my morale.”

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national cross-country Uhuru Gardens Kenya Prisons