Sprinters headline final leg of AK series: Kishoyian, Imali to light up Thika meet

By Denis Okeyo: Wednesday, May 16th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
400m runner Alphas Kishoyian in training session ahead of Rio Olympics 2016 at Kipchoge Stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on July 21, 2016.[PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Athletes prepare for Track and Field meeting on Friday and Saturday.

Fireworks are expected at Thika Stadium on Friday when the final Athletics Kenya track and field meeting gets underway.

The Thika Municipal Stadium, which is mostly used by Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) athletes, will be choking with humanity as Kenya’s global track stars battle for honours.

The contest, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, is likely to attract a large turnout due to the cancellation of the Kericho meet last weekend.

Having switched from 400m to 800m, national 400m champion Alphas Kishoyian will lead a host of elite athletes.

They include Commonwealth Games 400m finalist Maximila Imali, former national 100m champion Millicent Ndoro, Boniface Khagai (200m), Pius Muia (200m) and Veronica Kamumbe (400m). Triple jumper Vera Rorey of Posta is also in the mix.

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Maureen Jelagat of Kenya Prisons Service, a perennial competitor in the national 400m squad, will however miss the action as she will travel to Germany tomorrow to compete in a number of races.

Kishoyian, 23, the 2011 world under-18 400m silver medallist, will line up in 800m, having competed in the event in Mumias and Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa. He trains alongside world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi, silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot and Winny Chebet at Rongai Athletics Club in Nairobi.

“My performance in 800m has been impressive. I am happy with the times I have managed this season,” he said.

David Miano, the Athletics Kenys (AK) Central Region chairman, urged athletes to turn up in large numbers.

“It’s the last event in the series and the organising committee will ensure preparations for the competition are adequate,” he said.

He added: “Since it’s the last meeting in the series, we expect a good number of athletes. Now that the Kericho meeting was cancelled since there was no track to host the event, we expect athletes to honour the Thika meet.”

Some of the top finishers in last year’s event, including Pamela Cherotich, who claimed the 5000m women’s final in 16:25:2, are expected to participate.

Others include Winfred Mbithe, Loice Chemining and Betty Chepkemoi.

After the series, AK will stage county championships on May 25-26. The Kenya Prisons and National Police Service athletics championships are set for June 13-15 while the Kenya Defence Forces Championships are set for June 20-22.

They culminate in the national competition-cum-trials for the 23rd Africa Senior Athletics Championships on a date Athletics Kenya has yet to announce.

Elsewhere, Edwin Kibet Koech won the Dalian International Marathon on Sunday with the first-ever sub-2:10 performance in the 32-year history of the IAAF Bronze Label road race, taking more than three minutes off the course record with 2:09:44.

The 30-year-old, whose personal best of 2:08.17 was set in Eindhoven three years ago, outraced defending champion Willy Ngelel to enjoy a sole lead during the last six kilometres before going on to break the course record of 2:13.03 set by compatriot Julius Maisei back in 2012. A crowded lead group paced the race to the 10-kilometre mark.