Ochichi and Mutai roll to glory in Kenya Police Athletics Championships

By Jonathan Komen

Former Olympic 5,000m silver medallist, Isabella Ochichi, and 2009 World Youth 400m hurdles silver medallist, Jeremiah Mutai, produced brilliant performances at the Kenya Police Athletics Championships.

Ochichi, who staged her comeback at the Prague 21km run in 1:09.21 after seven years in woodworks, shook off her close challengers Esther Chemtai and Pascalia Chepkorir in the women’s 10,000m final at the prestigious sporting cathedral, Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, yesterday.

Mutai proved he was no pushover in 800m as he posted an impressive 1:43.9.

The mark stands out as the second best on Kenyan soil this season, only after world record holder David Rudisha’s 1:42.12 fastest ever record at high altitude.

Olympic javelin finalist Julius Yego, fresh from posting a sizzling 79.43m at the IAAF World Challenge in Beijing, China, last Tuesday, carried the title in 76.28m, beating Fred Kogo (63.56m) and Henry Kiprono (58.50).

With spectators on their feet as the two-day contest concluded, Ochichi, who won last week’s Gothenburg half marathon in Sweden in 71.27, deployed the afterburners with two laps left as Chemtai and Chepkorir responded to the surge.

“I happy to return to the track and I expected to run well. I am planning to compete in 5km and 1okm road races in USA next week,” said Ochichi.

Ochichi, who won 5,000m gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne Australia won in 33:02.2.

World cross-country runner Chemtai (33:04.1), Chepkorir (33:10.0) and Hellen Muge (33:47.5) came in second, third and fourth.

Africa 800m silver medallist Eunice Sum, who bowed out at the Daegu worlds 1,500m semi-finals, cruised to the two-lap race honours in 2:00.1.

She led Nelly Jepkosgei (2:00.5), Mary Kuria (2:02.5) and Sheila Chesang (2:11.8) in the 800m duel.

Mutai, who hails from Molo, showed no respect for Geoffrey Rono (1:45.0) and Commonwealth Games 800m bronze medallist Abraham Kiplagat (1:46.5). Timothy Seii (1:48.9), Francis Kikosi (1:51.3) and Emmanuel Kimeu (1:52.9) followed.

The Kapsabet-based Mutai said: “I am happy for the win. I will now get down to training to tune up areas of weakness ahead of national trials.”

Former Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Augustine Choge beat a strong line up to wear the men’s 1,500m crown in 3:37.3 ahead of former Africa junior 1,500m silver medallist Nixon Chepseba (3:38.3) and former Olympic 3,000m steeplechase bronze silver medallist Paul Koech Kipsiele (3:39.6).

Choge quipped: “I decided to break away early since I knew Chepseba was strong.”

But Chepseba said he was grateful to return to track after injury and will focus on the national trials.

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IAAF World Challenge Isabella Ochichi Jeremiah Mutai Commonwealth Games