ALL IS SET FOR BATTLE ROYALE: Chepkirui wins 10,000m as top names face-off in today’s National Championships finals
The national athletics championships conclude at the Moi International Sports Centre today with plentiful of mouth-watering clashes on the card.
Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Joyce Chepkirui, who was dropped from the 2013 Moscow worlds national trials, re-affirmed her bid to make the cut to the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships set for Beijing, China, next month, when she won women’s 10,000m final yesterday.
Two-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop produced a brilliant run to glide into today’s 800m final as world cross-country champion Geoffrey Kipsang and world 5,000m bronze medalist Isaiah Kiplang’at renew rivalry in 5,000m final.
The showpiece produced a spectacular sight even as Deputy President William Ruto handed over the flag to the national team that leaves to Cali, Colombia, for the ninth IAAF World Youth Championships.
It was particularly sweet victory for Chepkirui, who is expected to give the Kenyan team a silver-lining in the absence of 2011 double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, who will concentrate on 5,000m.
Chepkirui, competing for National Police Service, deployed the afterburners – that had 2009 World Youth 3,000m silver medalist Jackline Chepng’eno, former Olympic Youth 3,000m champion Gladys Chesir and world half marathon winner Gladys Cherono chasing shadows.
Chepng’eno, an alumnae of athletics-rich Kiptere Secondary School in Kericho County, engaged her in a neck and neck battle to a photo finish. Chepkirui won in 32:08.23 ahead of Chepng’eno (32:08.24) and Chesir (32:10.44). Beatrice Mutai (32:10.77), the elder sister of Commonwealth Games
1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich and Prisons’ Lucy Cheruiyot (32:24.30) followed as Cherono (32:43.38), Rebecca Chesire (32:49.81) and 2006 World Junior 3,000m champion Veronica Nyaruai (32:18.50) sealed the top eight spots.
Chepkirui said: “I am happy for the win. I now need to prepare well for the national trials.”
Chepng’eno was grateful for her comeback from injury after almost three years in the woodworks.
Double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot will take on Irene Chepkemoi, Perin Nenkampi and Lydia Wafula of Prisons in the final.
Two-time world 1,500m champion Kiprop will duck it out with Olympic 800m bronze medalist Timothy Kitum, Olympian Antony Chemut and Nicholas Kiplagat in the chase for two-lap race national honours.
Nicholas Kiplagat and Evans Kipkorir, a member of the Commonwealth Games 800m squad, are others stars to watch.
Another battle is expected in 400m when Africa junior silver medalist Alex Sampao and Alphas Kishoyian meet old guards Mark Mutai and Vincent Mumo.
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