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Cross country: Chebet triumphs in juniors category

ATHLETICS By JONATHAN KOMEN | February 14th 2016

World Youth 3,000m champion Sandra Chebet beat a classy field in a thrilling 6km junior women’s race at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

Sandra, who completed Form Four at Saramek Secondary in Kericho County, re-enacted winning strategy at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, last year.

The 19-year old ensured she had a long, sustained final sprint, not a short, explosive one, but missed the stiff challenge from her sister Emily Chebet, the World Youth silver medalist, who finished 10th.

Sandra’s speed in the final kilometre carried the day as she won in 18:48.2 with pre-race favourite Mirriam Cherop (19:12.0), Lucy Cheruiyot (19:12.7), Gloriah Kite (19:17.4) and Winfred Mbithe (19:23.3) followed as former World Youth Champion Lilian Kasait (19:28.0), finished sixth to pick her ticket to Younde, Cameroon, for the Africa cross country showpiece.

“I want to win gold in Cameroon. I just decided to break away early after realizing that the opposition was not strong enough. It’s unfortunate my sister Emily could not make the team,” Sandra said.

Little-known Nickson Kiplagat won the junior men’s title in 22:45.9 beating Africa cross country silver medalist Andrew Lorot (22:47.0) and Isaac Kipsang (22:49.1). Willy Kwemoi (22:54.6), Alfred Ng’eno (23:00.6) and Ronald Kiprotich (23:09.1) followed.

Kiplagat, the Africa Youth silver medalist, said: “I was confident of winning. I am in top form and hope to make the team to the World Junior Championships this year.”

Lorot, a Form Four Student at Nairobi’s Riruta Central, blamed the hot weather.

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