On form, Nicholas Kimeli and Winny Chebet led from the front in securing double tickets for both the World Championships and Commonwealth Games as Athletics Kenya started its two-day trials at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Friday afternoon.
High-flying World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri won the women's 10,000m race at the Athletics Kenya trials by clocking 31:49.88 earning automatic tickets to the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
The event, which was attended by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, saw Sheila Chepkirui and Margaret Chelimo settle for the second and third positions in 31:50.13 and 31:50.22 respectively.
Fresh from winning the African Championship in Mauritius, Winnie Chebet clinched victory in the women’s 1500m in a time of 4mins, 11.21secs ahead of Jebitok who timed 4:11.87 with Purity Chepkurui crossing at 4:12.96 in third place.
Elated Obiri promises fireworks in Oregon.
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"Though I am now more into road races my being here is to motivate upcoming athletes. My focus is to defend my 5,000m title in Oregon and then decide which event to go for in Birmingham. So there is a lot to discuss with my coach when we go to camp," said Obiri
On her part, Chebet said the fever she had a few days before the trials did not deter her from winning.
"I didn't expect to finish top because I had a fever that prevented me from competing three days prior to the trials, for that, I want to thank God for my victory. I want to urge Kenyan fans to support us so that we can win medals in Oregon and Birmingham," Winny Chebet.
In the men’s race, Nicholas Kimeli led compatriot Jacob Krop to win the men’s 5,000m in a record time of 13:28.65 from Jacob Krop at 13.29.20 and Cornelius Kemboi in third in 13:29.90.
"I have achieved my target of victory here. I was relaxed and not running so fast. It was just about tactics. I'm equally happy my friend and training mate Krop has made the team, with whom we worked as a team. With the shape I'm in, I will be in contention for a gold medal in Oregon."
Kimeli put up a sprint at the home stretch to cross the line in a time of 13mins, 28.65secs with Krop coming home second in a time of 13mins, 29.20secs. Cornelius Kemboi was third in 13mins, 29.90secs.
The world under 20, 3,000 steeple chase men Champion Amos Serem upsets experienced runners to win the trials. Abraham Kibiwot was second and defending world champion Conseslus Kipruto in third place.
"I am so elated to have qualified for Oregon. I remember last year after I won the World under 20, I said the next step is to make it to the World Championship.
I know the hard work begins because there will be pressure to reclaim Kenya's reputation as the king of steeplechase and with much preparation, we will bring the title back home," said Serem.