Top athletes battle for World Championships tickets at Nyayo National Stadium

By JONATHAN KOMEN

It was billed to be the most challenging national trials in Kenya’s team selections.

And it did not disappoint as the battle between world-beating stars and newcomers lived upto its hot billing.

 The clash between Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi, bronze medalist Abel Mutai, world silver medalist Brimin Kipruto and new kid on the block Conseslus Kipruto was simply breathtaking leaving the capacity crowd at Nyayo National Stadium in raptures.

In a battle that went down to the wire, Kipruto outsmarted the old guards when he produced his newfound trademark 50-metre kick to beat Mutai and Kipruto on homestretch.

 Kipruto, who maintains an unbeaten run in the Diamond League series, stormed into the lead at half way mark as Kemboi, Jairus Kipchoge and Brimin Kipruto stuck in tow.

 He then shifted gears with a solid run to victory in 8:13.50, ahead of Mutai (8:14.00) and Kipruto (8:14.00).

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Kipchoge (8:16.30) and World Youth silver medalist Gilbert Kirui (8:25.10) came in fourth and fifth as Kemboi (8:26.70), who has IAAF wild card in his hands, relaxed to finish sixth.

 Kipruto, who is from Kipchune village in Nandi County, said: “It was the toughest race. I am grateful to make team for the first time as a senior. Kemboi has a lot of experience in championships running and we will work as a team. I want to become the first man to win World Youth, World Junior and World Championships.”

 London Olympics 1,500m squad of world champion Asbel Kiprop, silver medalist Silas Kiplagat and Nixon Chepseba topped the metric mile race.

Kiplagat (3:33.70) led Kiprop (3:33.80) and Chepseba in dramatic finish that saw them hold hands together at the finish line.

 Former World Junior champion Isaiah Koech Kiplang’at carried the 5,000m race in 13:35.12, beating Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Longosiwa (13:36.82) and Edwin Soi (13:39.49).

 Olympian Anthony Chemut (1:44.33) was too strong for new catch Ferguson Rotich (1:44.38) and former world Youth 400m hurdles silver medalist Jeremiah Mutai (1:44.61) in 800m contest.

 World 800m bronze Janeth Jepkosgei (1:59.70) bowed to Africa bronze medalist Eunice Sum (1:59.30) in the women’s two-lap race.

 Former world junior 800m silver medalist Winnie Chebet (2:00.0) and Nelly Jepkosgei (2:02.80) followed.

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Ezekiel Kemboi London Olympics Nandi County