Athletics: Wanjiru stars at KDF showpiece

By Jonathan Komen: Thursday, July 4th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Samuel Gathimba and Simon Wachira during the men's 20km walk race during the Commonwealth Games Trials. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

Mercy Wanjiru, a member of the squad to the 12th African Games, won 3,000m steeplechase race at the 40th Kenyan Defence Forces Championships at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.

Wanjiru, who is based at Lanet Barracks, added her victory to wins in 3000m at the Athletics Kenya track and field meetings in Nyeri and Mumias. She also won 5,000m at the Narok meet before picking a spot in the team to the African Games that runs in Morocco on August 16-30.

She won in 9:45.9 ahead of Naomi Chepkemoi (9:57.2) and Agnes Chesang who sealed the podium place in 10:02.8.

Wanjiru dictated the proceedings from the gun even as she toyed around her challengers who included Chepkemoi and Chesang.

Chepkemoi made frantic attempts to keep up with the high pace mid way through the race before Wanjiru pulled away with a killer sprint with 300 metres to the finish line.

“I have had a good season. I can’t complain. I have trained hard this year and that’s why I could perform well in the track and field meetings,” said Wanjiru.

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“I felt encouraged when I made the team Kenya for African Games behind Beatrice Chepkoech, the world 3,000m steeplechase record holder. I know it will be great lining up together at the African Games.

“I hope we will do well and maybe take position one and two,” said Wanjiru, who will marshal forces with Beatrice Chepkoech and Rosefline Chepng’etich in Morocco.

Chepkemoi said she was grateful to have finished second but she must work on her speed.

“I am happy to have finished second today. I know Wanjiru was stronger than me and that is why I tried to keep up with the pace. I have to work hard and improve on my time,” said Chepkemoi.

Emily Ngii, another member of the African Games squad, won women’s 20km walk in 1:39.9 ahead of teammate Grace Wanjiru (1:39.27) and Purity Mwende who returned third in 1:56.53.

In men’s contest, Simon Wachira who settled for runner up spot in the African Games trials won in 1:27.6 ahead of Peter Theuri (1:28.56) and Nicodemus Musau (1:32.33).

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