Riruta Central Secondary School’s Meshack Letim [Photo:Erick Ochieng’/Standard]
By Erick Ochieng’

Meshack Letim and Emmy Chebet, both of Riruta Central Secondary School are the winners of the Nairobi County Cross-Country junior championships.

Letim, 16, from Kilgoris clocked 22:25.0 to win the boys’ 8km race which was highly contested by new and former athletes at Posta grounds, Nairobi, at the weekend.

The Form Three student attributed his win to long hours of training.

 “I tried my luck in the race and was fourth last year so I realised I could perform well by taking long hours in training and I am happy to be the winner this year,” said Letim who is inspired by World and Olympic 800m champion and record holder, David Rudisha who is also his immediate neighbour at his rural home in Kilgoris.

Step up training

He said he will continue to step up training at his base at Ngong  ahead of the national trials on February 16 in Nairobi which will act as a ticket for next month’s World cross-country championships in Poland.

“My aim is to make it to Poland, I can’t wait to board my first plane outside the country, this year I have to represent Kenya abroad just like other athletes,” said Letim.

Chebet, who ended the girls 6km junior race at 20:24.0 was  glad that she was able to improve from her third position last year to win the title.

The Form Two student is now looking forward to causing upsets at the national cross-country trials. Like her school mate Letim, she cannot wait to represent Kenya at international championships for the first time.

“I’m praying and hoping all will be well, I will continue training hard to keep in shape for the national trials,” said Chebet, 16.

Third loop

Pauline Njeri defended her senior women’s 8km title as Abel Rop clinched the men’s 12km title.

Rop looped through the 12km circuit of six rounds in an impressive time of 3:18.00 seconds to finish 19 seconds ahead of second-placed Silas Kimutai from Westlands in 34:37.0 and Bernard Wangondi (34:51.5).

Njeri dashed to the lead in the third loop and went on to win the women’s senior title in 25:54.6. Second placed Alice Kikunya clocked 26:38.41.

Nairobi Athletics Kenya chairman, Barnaba Korir, said only top six finishers in each category will qualify for the national championships.

Meanwhile, Kisumu County won the Provincial junior women 6km Cross-Country Championships at the Kisumu Polytechnic. Siaya County came second followed by Homa Bay.

The race was won by Lillian Adhiambo from Siaya, who clocked 22:23.06, followed by Naomi Chepkorir from Nyando (22:39.30) and Shada Cheroit of Nyando, who clocked 22:58.50. Angela Bitok from Homa Bay was fourth in 23:09.00.

Miriam Tanui from Siaya clocked 23:21:23 to emerge fifth overall.

In the 12km Junior Men, Eliud Tarus posted a time of 39:31.00 to emerge the victor. He was followed by Simon Chirchir (39:32.00).

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Cross-country junior championships Meshack Letim Emmy Chebet