Athletics Kenya names the national team to Africa Cross Country Championships in Togo

By Dennis Okeyo: Saturday, February 15th 2020 at 16:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Sheila Chelagat [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Athletics Kenya on Saturday named the national team to Africa Cross Country Championships set for Lome, Togo, on April 8. The team will report St Marks Teachers Training College in Kigari, Embu, on March 22 and leave for Togo on April 6.

Kibiwott Kandie and Sheila Chelangat won the senior races at the lush green and well-manicured Ngong Racecourse.

Kandie of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) won men's 10km race in 29:57.7 ahead of race favourite Geoffrey Kamworor (30:05.5) of National Police Service and Central Rift’s Nicholas Kimeli (30:12.0).

Kamworor, a two-time world cross country champion, dictated the proceedings as Kandie stuck with the chasing pack. He, however, ran out of gas in the final stretch as Kandie employed an electric pace to win the race.

It was a sweet victory for KDF, who had never tested win since 2003 when John Korir won the signature race.

“I had prepared well for the race. It is unfortunate Kamworor lacked the energy in the final bend, but it doesn’t matter now. I am glad to make the national team for the first time," said Kandie, who is a two-time KDF cross country champion. 

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Chelangat of police staged a brilliant show to win the women’s 10km race in 34 minutes and 34.9 seconds. World cross country champion Hellen Obiri of KDF won the title last year, but a back injury ruled her out.

Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Stacy Ndiwa of police settled for second spot in 34:40.4.

Kenya Defence Forces champion Joyce Chepkemoi clocked 34:48.8 for third place as Immaculate Anyango of South Rift came fourth in 34:58.3.

Kamworor and Chelangat were not included in the Africa cross country team.

In women’s under-20 contest, South Rift’s Maurine Cherotich won in 20:14.9 with her teammate Edna Jebitok (20:24.8) returning second as Central Rift’s Agnes Jebet came third in 20:35.4. 

Beatrice Chebet, the 2019 world cross country under-20 champion and a fresh graduate at the senior ranks, finished fifth in 35:00.1.

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