Korikwang’ and Aprot secure team spots to Africa meeting

By Denis Okeyo: Friday, June 22nd 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics

Former World Junior 5000m silver medalist Pauline Korikwang’ and Africa 10,000m champion Alice Aprot yesterday staged brilliant shows at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships national trials at Kasarani Stadium.

Athletics Kenya (AK) will use the three-day showpiece to select team to the continental contest that runs in Asaba, Nigeria, in August 1-5. The first two across the line earn automatic tickets into the team and a wild card decision for the third spot.

Korikwang’, who saw a career threatening injury rule her out for long, formed the leading pack in 10,000m alongside Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Stacy Ndiwa, world 21km record holder Joyceline Jepkosgei, former Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Lucy Kabuu and Beatrice Mutai.

Korikwang’, Ndiwa and Aprot dictated the proceedings before Ndiwa dropped out in the 17th lap.

Korikwang, a mother to a five-year-old boy Declan Yego, has come a long way. She bagged bronze in 5,000m and 10,000m at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2011.

And her huge experience paid dividends as she raced down her rivals to win in 31:51.1.

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Aprot of Kenya Prisons timed 31:59.1 for second automatic ticket to the west Africa nation.

Sandra Felis Chebet, 10th placed at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in Australia last April, returned third in 32:16.5.

 “This is a confirmation that I am fit as I just recovered from the hip injury,” said Korikwang’, the 2006 world cross country junior champion.

Korikwang’ added: “It feels good to be back and make the national team. I am humbled”

Aprot, fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said she was happy to earn ticket to defend her Africa title.  “It has not been easy to regain form after a good season. I will do more speed work ahead of the Africa Championships,” she said.

 In men’s 1,500m semi-final, the World 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi and World silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot sailed into tomorrow’s final.  

 Manangoi timed 3:48.3 to win heat three while Laban Kiplimo (3:48.6) and Evans Keitany (3:49.2) followed.

 Cheruiyot clocked 3:46.4 in heat two beating Charles Simotwo (3:46.7) and IAAF Diamond League regular Collins Cheboi (3:46.8).

 Jeremiah Kiptanui won heat one in 3:47.4 beating former Africa Youth 800m champion Robert Biwott (3:47.6) and John Kibu (3:48.6).

 “I didn’t want to push hard and just had an easy race that assured me a place in the finals,” said Cheruiyot, Commonwealth Games silver medalist and 2017 IAAF Diamond League Trophy winner.

Judy Kiyeng, Winfred Mbithe, Africa 800m silver medalist Winny Chebet and Nelly Jepkosgei qualified for tomorrow’s 1,500m final.