It was a showpiece that was marked with surprises. And it did not disappoint as the two-day 10th edition of National Police Service track and field championships lived up to its billing.
Despite the absence of bigwigs like two-time New York Marathon winner Geoffrey Kamworor, who will line up at Boston Marathon on Monday evening, upstarts stormed onto the stage and stole the limelight inside Kasarani Stadium.
In the same vein, recruits from Kenya Police College Kiganjo toasted in a rare fry of victories.
World 5,000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo, Commonwealth Games 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal and Daniel Simiu, who is fresh from World Indoors, proved their mettle –as the battle for places in Kenya’s squad to World Athletics Championships (in Oregon, USA), Africa Championships (in Mauritius) and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (UK) start in earnest.
It was Chelimo who wore the composure of a veteran athlete that remained as the day’s showstopper.
Chelimo, who trains under Italian agent Gianni Demadona in Kapsabet, dictated the proceedings in 10,000m duel even as Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medallist Stasy Ndiwa, Janet Ruguru and former world U20 3000m silver medallist Sadrafelis Chebet breathed down her neck.
With spectators on their feet, Chelimo deployed the afterburners with a devastating kick with two laps to go that her challengers could not respond.
She electrified the stadium to win in 31:51.7 –a mark that fell shy of World Championships qualifying standard of 31:25.00. Chebet (32:28.7) as Ndiwa came third in 33:15.7.
Chelimo said: “It’s that I did not hit the qualifying mark but I will travel to Prefontain Classic meet in Oregon to strive for qualification. There is still enough time. I need to improve on the silver medal I won in Doha in 2019.
“All I need now is to sharpen on speed ahead of national trials on April 28-30.”
Kimanyal, who saved Kenya’s blushes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, looked ready to stop any aggression from the onset.
Kinyamal, representing Anti Stock Theft Unit, wore the men’s 800m crown in 1:45.11.
Recruit Norbert Kolombos returned second in 1:47.16 ahead of former world U20 400m silver medallist Jeremiah Mutai who clocked 1:47.42.