BY ERICK OCHIENG’
Commonwealth 1,500m and 800m champion Nancy Jebet Lagat (pictured below) clocked 2:09.06 to easily win the women’s 800m at the second edition of the Safaricom/Athletics Kenya Sprint Relays series at Prisons ground, Nairobi, yesterday.
“I know I can make it in the 800m category, but my main focus is on the 1,500m at the World Relays in Bahamas in May,” the Beijing Olympic 1,500m champion told FeverPitch. Miriam Chepkemoi and Sylvia Chepsebe rounded up the remaining podium finishes.
Former World 800m champion Janeth ‘Eldoret Express’ Jepkosgei managed third place in the 400m(26.8), behind winner Annete Mwanzia and runner-up Grace Kidala. Despite the win, Jepkosgei will go for the 800m glory at the World Relays trials.
“It’s a new season and I believe the sprints will prepare us for Bahamas championships. This (Prison ground) is not a standard track, but it is not bad as the challenge it offers is welcomed and we hope to be in better shape come the next meet at Nyayo stadium on April 8,” said Jepkosgei.
Nathan Biwott was given a run for his money by second placed finisher Edwin Kemboi and third-place Daniel Karwen in the men’s 800m he won in 1:49.6.
Boniface Mucheru won the men’s 400m after edging out sensational but aging Mark Mutai and Vincent Mumo. New kids on the block Alex Sampao and Julius Rotich also displaced Mutai and Mumo from the second and third place finish respectively.
Mercy Chebet clocked 4:21.8 to win the women’s 1500m ahead of Beatrice Chepkoech (4:22.4) and Fancy Cherotich (4:24.8).
Job Kinyor conquered the men’s 1500m despite stiff challenge from Hillary Maiyo and Vincent Letting. Prisons sprinter Moses Ngwono, put behind his last year’s tribulations to win the men’s 100m.
Nairobi AK chairman, who is also the meet leader, admitted that majority of the athletes looked out of form but is hopeful that the series will beat them into shape before Bahamas.
“With these series we are hoping to unravel another world conquering sprints team reminiscent of the 1972 Olympic conquering team in Munich,” said Korir.
The inaugural World Relays Championships in the Bahamas will also act as qualifiers for the 2015 World Relays in London, England.The drawing of the pools will be vice versa if Kenya emerge at winners in Kigali.