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ATHLETICS: Stars gear up to national trials in Eldoret

ATHLETICS By Denis Okeyo | January 29th 2019 | 2 min read
From left: Perin Nenkempi, Stacy Ndiwa and Sandra Felis Chebet competes during the 2018 National Cross Country Championships at Uhuru Gardens. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

As organisers go through detailed plans to make national cross country Championships cum IAAF World cross country trials a success, teams and individuals are getting ready for bruising battle in Eldoret on February 23.

Kenya will use the meeting, the second to be hosted in self-proclaimed “City of Champions”, to pick a team to the global one-day showpiece to be staged in Aarhus, Denmark on March 30.

National Police Service, Prisons Service and Kenya Defence Force have already picked their squads ahead of what promises to be a tight affair.

Three-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, who tore apart his opponents to successfully defended and win his sixth National Police cross country 10km title, will lead the Police team that also includes World steeplechase record holder, Beatrice Chepkoech.

Others in the Police squad include women's cross country winner Margaret Chelimo, 2015 World steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng, Pascalia Chepkorir, Edith Chelimo, while men have Josphat Bett, Isaac Temoi, Josphat Bett and Mathew Kisorio.

After dethroning Africa 10,000m silver medallist Alice Aprot over the weekend during the Prisons cross country Championships at Prisons Staff Training College, Ruiru, two-time World Under-20 steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol will no doubt be a favourite in the women's race.

Chespol will team up with Aprot, Loice Chemning, Nancy Nzisa, Beatrce Ruto and Catherine Syombua.

Charles Muneria will lead Prisons men's side that also has Joshua Nakeri, Emmanuel Ngetuny, Silas Kiplagat, Victor Chpekwony and Wilfred Kimitei. The team is coached by Gideon Chirchir.

World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri, who has already declared her interest in winning the world cross country title, the only silverware missing in her cabinet, will lead the KDF team.

Obiri, 29, will team up with the promising newcomer Irene Kimais, Deborah Samum, Dorcas Kimeli, Caroline Chepkemoi and Mercy Wanjiru in women’s team.

After winning the closely contested KDF men's race last Friday, Kandie Kibiwot will team up with Lawi Kosgei, Vedic Cheruiyot, Jairus Songok, Stephen Arita and Vincent Mutai.

Athletics Kenya (AK) Central Rift chairman, Abraham Mutai said Eldoret is ready to welcome fans as they get ready to host another big sporting event since the 2016 Olympics Games trials.   

“Planning is at an advance stage. We want host a world class event complete with warm area and call room. As you are aware, the event will be held in the evening, however, activities will start in the morning," Mutai said.

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