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Kandie and Chelangat shine at Athletics Kenya meet

ATHLETICS By Dennis Okeyo | February 27th 2021
Kibiwott Kandie wins 10,000m men race during the AK Track and field events at Nyayo national stadium on February 27, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

World Half Marathon Kibiwott Kandie started his Olympic Games preparation on a high note by winning his first track competition at the opening leg of the Athletics Kenya (AK) track and field weekend meeting at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.

Kandie’s interest in the men’s 10,000m event will give Kenya hope at an event; it last won a gold medal at the Olympics in Mexico in 1968 through Naftali Temu.

The fast-rising Kandie, 24 who picked running in 2013 while still a student at Cheberen Secondary School in Baringo County, calculated his move well to easily win the men’s 10,000m in 28:28.0 to put his Olympics dream on track. 

Gilbert Kimunyan, who led for much of the race, settled for the silver position in 28:37.7 ahead of Peter Mwaniki who clocked 28:38.7 in third place. 

Kibiwott Kandie wins 10,000m men race during the AK Track and field events at Nyayo national stadium on February 27, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

“Now that Africa Cross Country has been postponed to a later date, I thought it was wise for me to come and gauge myself in track because I’m keen on representing and winning a medal for Kenya in Tokyo,” said Kandie who finished second at the National Cross Country Championships two weeks ago. 

Kandie who made his breakthrough at the 2020 World Half Marathon in Gdynia, Poland before winning the 2020 Valencia Half Marathon, in a world record time of 57:32 believes teamwork in Tokyo will enable them to deliver the elusive gold medal at the Olympics in Tokyo. 

“I believe early preparation and teamwork will give us good results in Tokyo,” he said. 

Two-time national cross country champion Sheila Chelangat continued with her splendid form, dominating the women’s 5000m. 

The fronting running Chelangat blew off her opponents to win the event in 15:49.6. 

Newcomer Jackline Rotich held on to win silver in 15:49.6 with Mary Nyaruai closing the podium in 15:50.2. 

“Because I don’t have any event lined up in the near future after the postponement of the Africa cross country championships, it just wise for me to compete in the locally available events to keep my form,” said the Kericho-based Chelangat. 

In the highlight of the day in sprints, Kitale-based Zablon Ekwam continued his dominant form winning his 400m speciality in 46.65. 

Cleophas Kipruto crossed the line 47:82 to finish second ahead Joseph Sanare who returned 48.49 seconds. 

William Rayan (47.09) won the second heat of the 400m event with David Sanayek finishing second in 47.28. Vincent Kiplagat (47.84) was third. 

Gladys Musyoki won the women race. Musyoki who was representing National Police cut the tape in 55.2 seconds ahead of Ann Mbatha (55.6) of Ndura Athletics Club and Emelda Muga in 59.6. 

Ferdinand Omanyala dominated the men’s 100m heat, winning in 10:18 seconds ahead of Moses Wasike and Pius Muia who clocked 10:81 and 10:99 respectively. 

AK is using the weekend meets to prepare athletes for Africa Championships that were due for Algiers last year, but were postponed due to coronavirus disruption and will now be held on June 1-5 in the Algerian capital city.

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