Athletics stars gear for Uhuru Gardens races

Geoffrey Kamworor(322) leads the pack in 10km men race during the IAAF Permit/National cross country championship at Nairobi's Uhuru Gardens on Feb 13, 2016. [PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

The adrenaline levels are running high ahead of the Lotto National Cross Country Championships at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi tomorrow.

It’s a do-or-die contest as world beating stars battle for slots to the fifth Africa Cross Country Championships that run in Chlef, Algeria, on March 17.

The stars, who will square it out with a field of upstarts, must put their best foot forward to earn the prized tickets after Athletics Kenya scrapped the traditional wild card selection criteria.

Kenyan trials are notorious for producing hitherto unknowns, who often treat established world-class stars with disdain and the national championships cannot be ruled out.

Paul Mutwii, the Athletics Kenya senior vice-president in charge of competitions, said the national cross championships Local Organising Committee had resolved that no athlete will get wild card.

 “All runners competing on Saturday (tomorrow) will have to struggle, give their best and finish in the top six to be selected. It is 1-6 across the line. No wild cards.

“We expect to select a strong team. As a country, we are blessed with huge talent athletes and the absence of top athletes who will be representing the country in World Half Marathon and those competing April marathons in Europe and America will not affect our team selections what-so-ever.”

Some of the top stars will miss out while others will use the contest as dress rehearsals ahead of major marathons in April -London Marathon, Paris Marathon, Rotterdam Marathon and Boston Marathon.

Bedan Karoki, the 2015 world cross country silver medalist, competed this morning at the RAK half marathon in United Arab Emirates while Leonard Barsoton, the 2017 world cross country silver medalist, will also miss out.

For the last three years, Nairobi and South Rift have dominated the under-20 competition with world under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Cellphine Chespol, Sandra Felis Chebet and Richard Kimunyan running the shows.

Justus Soget and Ronex Kipruto, the 2017 National Secondary Schools 8km cross country champion, are among fresh graduates in the senior men’s race.  

Leonard Bett, the world under-18 2,000m steeplechase champion, world under-18 1,500m silver medalist Edward Zakayo and Japan-based Wesley Ladema are some of the top guns in men’s junior race.

In the women’s junior race, Africa junior cross country champion Mirriam Cherop, world under-18 2,000m steeplechase champion Caren Chebet and Ednah Jebitok will battle in junior women race.

Nancy Jesang and Nesphine Jepleting highlight Coast region squad as Fancy Cherono and Sarah Kwemoi carry Western region’s flag.

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Cherop eyes a double at showpiece

Cherop eyes a double at showpiece

Godsend for Shujaa as Injera and Odhiambo return

Godsend for Shujaa as Injera and Odhiambo return

Prisons coach Barasa has selection headache

Prisons coach Barasa has selection headache

Leopards exit Confederations Cup

Leopards exit Confederations Cup

Underdogs hold up to prevail against all odds

Drama as African rookies win Caf Confederation Cup ties

Manchester United star 'wants showdown talks' with Jose Mourinho

Manchester United star 'wants showdown talks' with Jose Mourinho

More Stories
Cherop eyes a double at showpiece

Cherop eyes a double at showpiece

Commonwealth Games: Sprint coaches decry exclusion from Club Games

Some sprint coaches have accused Athletics Kenya (AK) of shutting them out of the team to the 21st Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games: No available training venues as departure nears

Athletics team faces hurdles; Accommodation hitch grips as track and field squad prepares for contest in Australia.

Kenyan athlete Francis Kiplagat dies in grisly road accident

Tragedy as Kenyan athlete dies in grisly road accident

Veterans seal second stab at Club Games: At least 14 athletes return to Commonwealth contest

World beating athletes stage impressive comebacks and pick tickets to Australia.

Expect a Kenyan double: London Marathon Director Hugh Brasher tips Kenyans to extend dominance in UK’s premier race

Kipchoge to take on Bekele and homeboy Mo Farah at London Marathon on April 22.

Keitany, Kipchoge face strong line up: Douglas Wakiihuri was the first Kenyan to win London Marathon

Kenya has produced the winner of the men’s London Marathon 12 times in the last 14 years.

Cheruiyot floors Manangoi: Athletics World 1,500m champion finishes second at Commonwealth trials

World junior champion Taki also makes team to Gold Coast, Australia.

Athletics: It’s tough duel as AK picks team today

It’s a do-or-die battle today as Kenyan athletes for slots to the 21st Commonwealth Games that run Gold Coast, Australia, on April 4-15.

Top guns battle at Kasarani

It will be another moment of riveting action tomorrow when local stars battle for slots in Track and Field to the 21st Commonwealth Games