Teams gear up for national trials set for Eldoret Sports Club on February 23

Former Africa Cross Country Bronze medalist Beatrice Mutai battle it out with Sandra felis Chebet and Eva Cherono during the 10KM senior women race at Kericho teachers Training college. Mutai shook off competition tyo book a place in national trials where she will be setting out to challenge Hellen Obiri. Photo by Gilbert Kimutai/standard

Mutai and Kiplang’at shine

Former Africa Cross Country bronze medalist Beatrice Mutai won women’s senior race to secure a slot in the IAAF Permit meet/national trials set for Eldoret Sports Club on February 23.

Mutai beat a strong field of athletes to upstage her challengers at the South Rift contest held at Kericho Teachers Training College yesterday.

Mutai, who trains in Nyahururu, won in 32:02:00 beating former World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase champion and race favourite Sandra Felis Chebet.

Chebet came second in 32:44:00 to book a ticket to the national trials.

Eva Cherono, the 2013 Africa Youth 1500m silver medalist, came third in 32:59:00 as Evaline Chirchir came fourth in 34:05:00.

Jackline Chepkoech (35:01:00) and Nora Chebet (35:13:09) was fifth and sixth, respectively. Mutai said she is under no pressure as she prepares to battle Olympic 5,000m silver medalist Hellen Obiri in national trials.

“I battled Obiri during the Ol Kalau AK cross country meet and she beat me narrowly and it’s my time to revenge in Eldoret,” Mutai said.

Mercy Cherono, the 2014 5000m Commonwealth champion, and Africa youth cross country champion Miriam Cherop did not impress.

Cherop, who graduated to the senior ranks this season, missed a place in the national trials after coming seventh in the race.

Cherono, who returned from maternity leave this season, dropped out of the race after four kilometres. Davis Kiplang’at, the 2015 World Youth silver medalist, won 10km senior men race.

Fresh from competing at the IAAF Cross Country series in Albuferia, Portugal, Kiplang’at shook off stiff competition from former world Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Amos Kirui to win the race. Kiplang’at won in 29:02:00 ahead of Kirui (29:10:00).

Dominic Kiptarus came third after stopping the clock in 29:11:00 as Geoffrey Koech (29:14:00) finished fourth.

Bernard Langat was fifth in 29:22:00 as David Bett sealed the top six spots in 29:42:00.