Upstarts impress at Athletics Kenya meeting

Mathews Samberu wins 10,000M followed closely by Isaac Too (left) during 2022 AK first track and field weekend meeting at The Nyayo national stadium on Friday, Feb 4, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The first leg of Athletics Kenya track and field meeting started off with exciting talking points for the busy 2022 athletics season.

Yesterday, newcomers staged brilliant shows as they showed little respect for the established athletics inside Nyayo Stadium.

The two-day contest, which concludes today, sets in motion campaigns for places in the national teams to World Athletics Championships set for Eugene, USA, in July and the Commonwealth Games scheduled for Birmingham, UK, in August.

Unexpectedly, the competition attracted a huge turn with men’s 100m contest lining up 13 heats with a record 165 athletes.

Little known and Japan-based Rebecca Mwangi pulled a fast one on a star-studded field that had former Africa 1,500m champion Winnie Chebet, former world cross country silver medalist Sandra-Felis Chebet and Africa 10,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui to wear the women’s 5,000m crown.

With spectators on their feet, the 20-year-old Mwangi wore the composure of an experienced athlete as she toyed around the field from the third lap even as Chebet, Chepkirui and Mary Mananu breathed down her neck.

She employed an electric pace as she approached the bell to win the race in 15:25.56.

Chebet (15:25.92), Chepkirui (15:28.61) and Sheila Jepkurui (15:33.31) came second, third and fourth respectively.

Police's Rebecca Koroso doing discuss2022 AK first track and field weekend meeting at The Nyayo national stadium on Friday, Feb 4, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Mwangi now harbours huge dreams. She said: “I will travel back to Japan next month to continue with my training because I want to focus on speed work and endurance. My ambition is to qualify and represent Kenya at the World Championships. But I know it’s easy to qualify at the national trials but I will give it my best,” said Mwangi

In men’s 10,000m, Stralugano Half Marathon winner Mathew Samperu topped heat one in 29:05.o ahead of Isaac Too (29:05.7), Pius Karanja (29:12.4) and Cosmas Mwangi (29:27.02).

Samperu said: “I tried to stay behind so as to study my opponents. I knew it was going to be tough because everyone has been training well. I will compete in other weekend meetings to gauge my form.”

 

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