Kiplagat skips Prisons competition

By Jonathan Komen

Eldoret, Kenya: World 1,500m silver medalist Silas Kiplagat will not represent his team during Thursday’s Kenya Prisons Athletics Championships at Nyayo National Stadium.

Kiplagat, an alumnus of Chebara Secondary School in Marakwet, said he has shifted focus to the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai on Friday.

However, he will be part of Prisons team at the National Bank of Kenya/Athletics Kenya athletics trials to pick the team to the World Championships in Moscow, Russia, from August 10-18.

Kiplagat, the reigning Commonwealth Games four-lap race champion, who finished fourth at the London Olympic Games, vowed to embrace a never-say-die spirit.

“I will not compete at the Kenya Prisons since I am preparing to defend the Diamond League title. I had a bad day in London Olympics and failed to win a medal but that’s behind me now. I am in top form like never before and I want to prove myself at the world championships,” said Kiplagat.

He went on: “I have been at the top of 1,500m in the world for three years and I must remain up there. It’s unfortunate I did do well at the Diamond League meeting in Doha last week but I have my targets set right for 2013.”

Strong competition

The Kenya Prisons team is full of globe-trotting stars and Kiplagat’s absence will not water down today’s competition.

Olympic 5,000m bronze medalist Thomas Longosiwa, who saved the Kenyan blushes at the London Olympics, will light up 1,500m and 5,000m shows.

The Eldoret-based Longosiwa said he has recovered well from a career threatening hamstring injury he has been nursing for long.

“I am well and ready for the big battle. I will decide on whether to double up 1,500m and 5,000m for I fear burning out early in the season,” said Longosiwa.

Benjamin Njoga, the Kenya Prisons chairman, who was also elected AK executive committee member at the polls, said his charges are ready to lock up their rivals.

“When want to set our destiny right at the nationals. We want to claim a sizeable number of slots in the national team to Moscow. The event will also serve as an interactive platform for our officers,” said Njoga, the Acting Commissioner General Prisons.

Corporate sponsors

Yesterday, Njoga received donations from their meet sponsors Safaricom, Nairobi Sports House, Coca-Cola and Molo Milk companies at Prisons headquarters in Nairobi.

World half marathon bronze medalist John Mwangangi will lead the men’s 10,000m charges, lining up against 2007 world marathon champion Luke Kibet and former World Half marathon champion Wilson Kiprop.

But Africa 5,000m bronze medalist Timothy Kiptoo and 2006 Commonwealth Games 1,500m sensation Jonathan Komen need to be at their best to counter Longosiwa and new catch Charles Cheruiyot.

Fred Musyoki, seventh-placed at the Africa cross-country and Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Joseph Birech will miss the action as they are nursing injuries. Commonwealth Games 400m runner Maureen Chelagat will compete in 400m flat and 400m hurdles.

Upstarts Jane Mwikali and Jane Murage will up against Susan Lekapana and Agnes Katungei in women’s 5,000m.

Salina Kosgei, the 2009 Boston Marathon winner and Caroline Kwambai are expected in 10,000m final.

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Silas Kiplagat IAAF Diamond League