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Stage set for a mega women’s clash in Eldoret

ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto | January 21st 2022 | 2 min read


Celliphine Chespol on her way to winning 3000m SC during the Kip Keino Classic-World Athletics Continental Tour 2021 at Kasarani Stadium last year. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The stage has been set for a scintillating clash as a strong field of women athletes line up for the National Cross Country Championships in Eldoret tomorrow.

It will be a show of class as the Lobo Village in the outskirts of Eldoret town hosts the national event.

The national championships took last place in Eldoret in 2019 at the historic Eldoret Sports Club.

Like the men’s field, the 10km senior women’s lineup is rich with Olympians, World and African medallists.

Regions and the disciplined forces such as Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), National Police Service (NPS) and Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) have equally assembled their top guns in the women’s category.

Former World Under-20 3000m steeplechase champion, Celliphine Chespol, will be carrying KPS’ aspirations as she hopes to clinch a national cross-country title in tomorrow’s race.

Last year, Chespol made a comeback after storming into a sterling 3000m victory at the Kip Keino Classic World Tour in Nairobi. She was the 2015 world youth champion and the 2016 world junior champion.

During the comeback, the former African Cross Country champion clocked 8:58.80 to lead a 1-2-3 Kenyan finish in the women’s steeplechase.

Fancy Cherono who timed 9:27.30 behind Chespol at the Kip Keino Classic will also be facing off with the former in Eldoret. Cherono will be representing the South Rift region.

Tokyo 1500m Olympian Edinah Jebitok, who stormed to an unassailable win at the 78th Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza – a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting in the Spanish town of Elgoibar on January 9, will represent Nairobi. She is a student at Cheptonon Secondary School in Nandi.

Former European Clubs Cup Cross Country champion (2015), Irene Cheptai, will be leading North Rift region’s women 10km squad.

Cheptai finished sixth in the 10,000m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She clinched the North Rift tickets for the National Championships alongside Zena Chemutai and Catherine Relin.

The South Rift region has not been left behind.

The region presents Sandrafelis Chebet Tuei who is fresh from taking top honors at the 96th edition of the Sao Silvestre de Sao Paulo 15km race last year is seeking another glory at the National Cross Country Championships.

Chebet, 23, defeated Ethiopian Yenenesh Dinkesa after opening an insurmountable distance. She produced a dazzling speed, cutting the tape in 50:06 with Dinkesa finishing second.

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