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It's a stellar cast for IAAF Nairobi meet

By | February 17th 2011


By Mutwiri Mutuota

World Cross titleholders, Caleb Mwangangi and Mercy Cherono will don Southern and South Rift bibs during Saturday’s IAAF Permit/KCB National Cross Country Championships at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens.

Mwangangi and Cherono, who won the men and women junior titles in Poland have a baptism of fire on their hands at Uhuru Gardens having stepped up to senior ranks at the beginning of the season.

In readiness for the daunting task ahead, Mwangangi took third at Southern’s provincial championships while Cherono won the second KCB Cross series meeting in Kipkelion before finishing fourth at the sixth in Nyahururu, a position she repeated at Eldoret’s Discovery Cross.

Both prodigious runners capped their last year as age athletes in fine fashion, winning the men 1,500m and women 3,000m world titles at the Moncton World Juniors in Canada.

Leonard Komon, the world record holder over 10km and 15km, will seek a sixth successive World Cross ticket in Nairobi’s colours.

World Cross legend

Should he be named in the Punta Umbria squad, Komon will match legend and five-time senior champion, Paul Tergat’s uninterrupted six-year stay at Team Kenya’s World Cross team.

Caleb Mwangangi when he won the 8km junior men race at the World Cross Country Championships in Poland last year. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

Komon won silver on his debut in Fukuoka in 2006, finished fourth in Mombasa, before stepping up to senior running with silver at the 2008 Edinburgh World Cross. He placed fourth at both Amman and Poland editions.

At the same time, Hosea Macharinyang, who was in Team Kenya for the 2004 (junior), 2006, 2007 and 2008 World Cross campaigns will front the senior men 12km North Rift squad.

Priscah Jepleting Cherono, the 2006 World Cross silver winner (short course), who is returning to action after maternal hiatus, is their top seed in the women’s senior 8km race.

Jepleting won the senior women race at the Discovery meet in Eldoret on January 23. Philemon Yator, who took second at the same event, is their main hopeful in the junior men 8km while World Cross silver winner; Purity Cherotich is the North Rift best offering in the junior women 6km.

Men title

Former National Cross champion, Grace Momanyi, who bagged victory in 2008 before finishing tenth in Edinburgh is the top draw in Nyanza South’s line-up while Gideon Ngatuny, who took the senior men title on that occasion, parading for Central.

Eastern have potent 10000m runner, Josphat Muchiri Ndambiri, who was fifth at the Osaka World Championships in 2007 in their ranks.

World Junior 1,500m women titleholder, Nelly Chebet, who completed her secondary school education at Riruta Satellite last year, will make her senior debut in Western’s squad.

Chebet finished fifth in Amman and seventh in Poland.

All 16 AK affiliates Nairobi submitted their final squads to Riadha House by the set Monday 4pm deadline.

Kenya’s teams for the March 6 Africa and March 20 World Cross championships in South Africa and Spain will be selected after the nationals.

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