Kimeli, Anyango take top honours at Iten Cross Country

Athletes in action during the AK Cross Country championships in Iten on November 25, 2023. [Stephen Rutto]

Nicholas Kimeli and Emmaculate Anyango took the top honours at Athletics Kenya Iten Cross Country championships on Saturday.

Athletics stars who participated in the Iten contest said they were eyeing places in the Kenyan team for the World Cross Country Championships and the Paris Olympics next year.

Kimeli, an Olympian proved too strong for Weldon Lagat and Asbel Kiprop (not the three-time 1,500m World Champion), who finished second and third respectively in the senior men's 10km competition.

He overcame the challenging high altitude course to storm to a convincing win in the fifth leg of the AK cross country series, running 30:05.09.

"I came to the competition as part of my training ahead of the World Cross Championships and the Olympics. My main focus is to make the team and represent the country," Kimeli said after the win.

Lagat and Kiprop raced 30:13.06 and 30:17.9 to finish second and third respectively.

Fresh from a second place at the Lille 10Km last weekend, Anyango won the senior women's cross country,  confirming her consistent rise to the top in distance racing.

Anyango who topped the Discovery Cross Country in January this year, oozed class to secure victory in 33:22.5 ahead of second-placed Betty Jepkemoi 34:19.0 and Deborah Samum, who closed the podium in 35:08.2.

Anyango said she faced no challenges in the Iten contest, since she trains there.

"Iten is my training base and the conditions were familiar. I suffered back pain in France last week and ran at my own pace. I competed in Iten to gauge how the body would respond. I am happy for the win," said Anyango.

Youngsters Johana Erot and Diana Chepkemoi ran brilliant races to emerge top in the junior categories.

Gideon Kipngetich came in second in the men's 8km while national schools 3,000m steeplechase competition champion Mathew Kosgei took the third position.

Maureen Chepkoech and Nancy Cherop finished second and third respectively in the junior women's 6km race.

 

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