Kasait aims for glory in senior races
The school girl is targeting continental cross-country championships in Algeria and the Commonwealth Games.
After an exhilarating performance in the junior athletics ranks, 2016 IAAF World Cross-Country bronze medallist Lilian Kasait is aiming to do well in senior races this year.
At 20 years, the ahtlete, who was born in Kilimanjaro village in West Pokot, already has a world title to her name after winning the 2013 IAAF World Under-18 3,000m gold, a silver medal at the World Junior championships in Eugene in 2014 and a bronze in the IAAF World Cross Country race in Kampala, Uganda, last year.
This year, Kasait will be sitting for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams Kenswed Secondary School in Ngong, Kajiado County, as she prepares for two major championships – the Africa Cross-Country Championship in Algeria and Club Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April.
“I have been improving every year, but I felt bad that I didn’t make the team to the London World Championship last year. Not making it to London really motivated me to train extra hard,” said Kasait, who ventured into athletics as a Standard Seven pupil of Footstep Academy in West Pokot.
Kasait finished eighth in the Athletics Kenya (AK) Cross-Country 2017-2018 Ndalat Ngaa run in Nandi County. She followed with a second place finish at the AK Nairobi Cross-Country meeting before emerging victorious in a time of 33:54.4 at the Wareng Cross-Country meet in November.
“My body is responding quite well and this year is a busy one for me. I will be sitting for my secondary school final examinations, which are very important to me. On the tracks, my goal is to make it to the national trials for the Commonwealth Games 5,000m squad," she said. "In 2014, I finished fifth at the Africa Junior Cross-Country Championships in Uganda. I would like to improve that performance if I make it to the team to Algeria."
At the 2014 Continental Cross-Country meeting in Kampala, Kenya’s Agnes Tirop won gold while the men swept the top five positions
Kasait is the younger sister of 1,500m runner Loice Chemning. She is coached by 2008 Beijing Olympics 1,500m champion Nancy Lagat.
Meanwhile, on the international skiing scene, Lara Gut, who is widely seen as Switzerland’s great hope for a gold at the 2018 Games, is still struggling to regain fitness after suffering a knee injury a year ago.
The 26-year-old in 2016 became the first Swiss woman to win the overall World Cup since Vreni Schneider in 1995.