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Odira outsprints Moraa as Reynolds comes tops in 1500m battle

Athletics
 Lilian Odira (left) outsprints World champion Mary Moraa and her sister Sara (center). [Stafford Ondego]

Kenya Prisons Lilian Odira pulled surprise performance to beat the World 800m champion Mary Moraa in the women’s 800m final at the ongoing Kenyan Olympics Trials at Nyayo Stadium.

Odira who finished fourth at the African Games earlier this year, topped the 800m finals in a an Olympic qualification time of 1:59.27, a guaranteed berth to the Paris Games.

Leading from the start, Moraa left the rest to sort themselves out but faded towards the end to settle for second place with 1:59.35 while her cousin Sarah Mora timing 1:59.39, narrowly missed the qualification standards.

“ I’m having a remarkable year, coming from maternity to going for African Games, then getting into the Africa Championship team and now Paris Olympics games, I’m so grateful. My teammate and family has been very courageous and I’m happy for their encouragement. Mary Moraa has also been my biggest inspirations, she is always encouraging me,” said Odira who hails from Migori County.

On her part Moraa, christened ‘Kisii Express’ said; “I’m happy to see Lilian get the qualifications time, Sarah narrowly missed out but she has time to get the qualifications standards which ends in June 30,” said Moraa after the race.

Reynold Cheriuyot ruined supreme in the men’s 800m finals, winning the closely contested race inThe reigning World Under-20 1500m champion Reynald clocked 3: 35.62 ahead of Kyumbe Munguti who timed 3:35.80 with Olympic silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot closing the podium in 3:35.90.However, Munguti will have until June 30, to get qualification standard which is pegged 3:33.50.

“The quality of the field was big, everyone had a chance to win the race, I’m glad I came on top today which gives morale heading to the Olympics,” said Reynald who is coached by Jacob Langat in Nyahururu.

Timothy Cheruiyot was satisfied with his performance; “ The field was very competitive, coming in third is good, I’m still have time to improve in my speed, but I’m happy with this performance and congratulations to all participants.”

Meanwhile, Rukia Nusra shattered her own 100m hurdles national record, clocking 13.67 seconds, to erase her previous time of 13.70 set during an Athletics Kenya meeting in January this year at the same venue.

In the men’s 100m, African fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala clocked 10.09 to top his heat and promised a faster time in the final today while former National champion Mark Otieno continued with his comeback trail with a 10.27 time.“If tomorrow’s weather will fine like today, I can see us running sub 10seconds. And that means other people can also qualify for Paris Games,” said Omanyala after his trial victory.

KENYAN Olympics TRIALS

Women’s 800m finalsLilian Odira. 1:59.27Mary Moraa. 1:59.35Sarah Moraa 1:59.39

MEN'S 1500m Final

Reynold Cheruiyot. 3:35.62Kyumbe Munguti. 3:35.80Timothy Cheruiyot 3:35.90

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