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SPORTS

Top guns set for Discovery Cross Country meeting

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | January 26th 2022 | 2 min read

 

Beatrice Chepkoech in action during the Africa Games trials at Kasarani Stadium in 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

A mouth-watering battle await as the 31st Discovery Kenya cross country meeting is set for Eldoret Sports Club on Sunday.

World champion 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, Olympian Rodgers Kwemoi and national champion Samuel Chebolei will lead a galaxy of stars at the lush green and well-manicured cross country circuit.

These big shots must be at their best as they square it out with a crowded field of upstarts.

The race, which is among the biggest cross country meetings in the country, stands out as a yard stick to test ground ahead of Agnes Tirop Memorial meet –the World Athletics Continental Tour –set for Lobo village in Eldoret on February 12.

David Leting, one of the organisers and the course marker, said race will no doubt evoke a tough contest between established athletes as it has kept producing new talents since its inception in 1991.

“I am sure the competition will be stiffer given that most of the athletes will begin the season here. We expect many top athletes, with some of them coming to gauge their shape in preparation for April’s Boston and Rotterdam marathons," said Leting, a national coach.

“It will also set the pace for Agnes Tirop Memorial Tour. This event normally coincides with Kenya Defence Forces, National Police Service and Kenya Prisons cross country championships. Now that there is no other event this weekend, we expect a big field."

It will be a perfect launching pad for Chepkoech, who is keen to defend her global title at the World Athletics Championships on July 15-24 in Oregon, USA and dash for a shot at the Commonwealth Games crown in Birmingham, UK, on July 27-August 7.

American sportswear apparel Nike, Athletics Kenya, Italia’s Rosa and Associati stable are the main sponsors.

A sizeable number of Kenya’s world cross country winners started off their careers at the meeting. They include five-time world cross country winner Paul Tergat, Vivian Cheruiyot and Geoffrey Kamworor (junior and senior winners) as well as junior winners Asbel Kiprop and Lydia Cheromei.

The event will feature the traditional four categories of cross country running –6km and 8km (women) and 8km and 1okm (men) –alongside five other kids races meant to scout talent.

There will be 500m boys and girls under six years, 1.5km girls under ten years, 2km for boys under ten years, 4km boys and girls under 14 years.

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