Cornelius Kiplagat wins the 800m heat ahead of former Africa champion Jackson Kivuva during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. INSET: Mark Kiptoo. [PHOTO: STAFFORD ONDEGO/STANDARD]
By JONATHAN KOMEN

Commonwealth Games 5,000m bronze Mark Kiptoo obliterated a quality line up to win in men’s 10,000m final at the 33rd Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

KDF cross-country champion Gladys Cherono also blew away a star-studded field to wear the women’s 5,000m crown.

Kiptoo and Cherono produced a superlative showing to wow the huge crowds that turned up for the three-day riveting action.

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The 36-year-old, but evergreen, Kiptoo formed the leading pack of eight runners, which had KDF cross-country champion Leonard Oloitiptip and Africa 5,000 silver medalist Kiprono Menjo.

Kiptoo, who trains at the Pace Sports Management in Kaptagat, dictated the slow pace in the first lap as Peter Mateelong dropped off leaving just Oloitiptip, Menjo and Linus Chumba in tow.

The Laikipia Air Base soldier exchanged the lead with Menjo and Oloitiptip and then charged forward with a super-finish to go past the flagging Chumba, who drifted back to fourth place.

Kiptoo, from Soy in Uasin Gishu County, then produced a sudden burst of speed through the race to stop the timer in 28:55.4.

His team mate Oloitiptip (28:55.8), Menjo of Moi Airbase (28:56.1) and Embakasi’s Chumba (29:01.1) came second, third and fourth respectively.

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Lanet’s Richard Ndengwa (29:02.0), Lewis Mosoti (29:02.7) of Isiolo, Reuben Limaa (29:03.4) and Peter Mateelong (29:09.0) of Nakuru followed in that order.

Kiptoo, also a former Africa 5,000m champion, said: “The race was not that tough. I have made the nationals to Commonwealth Games, world cross-country and Africa Championships but not world championships and this has become a headache to me. It is my desire that I make the national team to World Championships this year,” said Kiptoo.

Former Africa 800m bronze medalist Jackson Kivuva (1:49.1) will lead the men’s 800m charges in today’s semi-finals.

Kivuva, who competes for Moi Air Base, will join forces with team mate Kayus Mauti in a bid to lock out Linus Biwott 1:50.8 (Nakuru), Hosea Kandie 1:49.6 (Lanet) and Isaac Rokony (1:49.1) of Nairobi.

Sammy Kesken of Thika, who was in Africa team to Benin last year, is expected to lead in the high jump finals tomorrow.

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But Mathew Sawe, the KDF’s high jump champion and Africa bronze medalist, will offer a spectacular sight to behold – given he’s back from Dakar, Senegal, where he trained at the IAAF Regional Development Centre.

In the women’s front, Kahawa’s Gladys Cherono carried the 5,000m title in 16:44.4 ahead of three-time world cross-country runner Lineth Chepkurui (16:45.1) and Isiolo’s world championships marathon bronze medalist Sharon Cherop (16:46.1).

Ignes Chenonge 16:47.0 (Mab), Gladys Chemweno 16:48.7 (Thika) and Rotterdam marathon winner 16:51.0 (Mab) followed as former world 10,000m champion Sally Barsosio 16:56.0 (Nairobi) and Beatrice Cherop (17:30.1) of Isiolo sealed the top-eight spots.

In 800m, Winnie Chebet will be up against Nancy Jebet Lagat and Hellen Obiri.

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KDF Gladys Cherono Laikipia Air Base Hellen Obiri