Over 300 athletes to race for 40 slots
By Mutwiri Mutuota
Over 300 athletes will contest 40 available slots during Saturday’s double selection IAAF Permit/KCB National Cross Country Championships at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens.
Athletics Kenya (AK) will choose a full complement of 24 runners for the March 20 Punta Umbria World Cross in Spain while cost inhibitions will see the squad for the March 6 Africa Athletics Championships set for Cape Town, South Africa whittled down to 16.
During a media briefing organised by sponsors Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and AK, yesterday, it was also disclosed six athletes namely; Faith Chepngetich, Alice Aprot, Naomi Chepng’eno, Nicholas Togom, Charles Kibet and John Chepkwony will tussle for the Sh250,000 series jackpot apiece while Sh560,000 will be distributed as prize money amongst top performers.
"Everything is ready for the event. So far, we have 60 athletes entered in junior women (6km), 66 in junior men (8km), 90 in senior women (8km) and 96 in senior men (96) in the provisional list. We have not closed the list since we shall enter some top athletes as individuals and we expect some entries from Sudan, Uganda, Emirates and Tanzania," AK general secretary, David Okeyo said.
His Treasurer counterpart, Joseph Kinyua, added, "We decided together with the sponsors to reward those who showed consistency in the domestic series with a consolation prize of Sh50,000 each if they miss the jackpot."
To qualify, athletes needed to score points in four of the seven KCB/AK National Cross Country Series meetings in Tala, Kipkelion, Kapsokwony, Embu, Kisii, Nyahururu and Iten and the nationals.
In the junior women category, Chepng’etich, with four victories has an overwhelming lead in the jackpot hunt with the same number of points lost with Aprot who recorded two third place finish, a runner-up and fourth finish in trailing on 12. Chepng’eno is a further point adrift having scored a second, a third and two fourth finishes in the series. The pair who lose out will pocket Sh50,000.
Togom is the only runner who met the criteria in the junior men race and only needs to finish on Saturday to pocket the pay-out.
Alice Mogire will take home the consolation package in the senior women’s race since she scored in three meetings but a 12th finish in Iten cost her the jackpot since points are awarded up to the sixth finisher.
Kibet (seven) and Chepkwony (nine) are in the close battle for Sh250,000 in the men’s longrace with the loser on the day settling for a fifth of that.
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