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All set for AK Cross Country build up race in Sotik

Budding and seasoned athletes from Kericho County are set to lock horns during the Athletics Kenya Cross country build up competition slated for 18 November this year at Sotik Club 181 grounds in Bomet County.

The race will set stage to select a team for the World Cross Country set to take place in Bathurst, Australia in February next year.

According to Athletics Kenya (AK) Kericho County Vice Chairman, Gabriel Kiptanui said athletes will compete in only two races; 10km and mixed relays for both men and ladies categories.

Speaking to KNA at Kericho Green Stadium during a training session with athletes,  Kiptanui who is also an athlete’s coach revealed that the competition is open for all athletes from South Rift adding that he was optimistic for exemplary performances.

“We expect prominent and  upcoming athletes from South Rift region; Kapsabet, Kisii, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru, Narok, Laikipia and am positive they have all sharpened their skills in their disciplines and we are guaranteed of exceptional performances  during AK  Cross country build up competition,” said Kiptanui.

He added that the 1st Betika Kericho County Cross Country meeting held at the Kericho Teachers Training Grounds on October 22, this year Kericho athletes ranked well in both the relay and 10km races and was optimistic that Kericho will maintain the same tempo.

“Kericho team is dedicated and disciplined in their trainings and they posted encouraging and the top best athletes posted personal best times. I am positive they will continue posting excellent results from their various disciplines in the AK Cross Country build up competition to be held in Sotik, Bomet and get to be in the team representing Kenya at the World Cross Country competition,” said Kiptanui.

During the 1st Betika Kericho County Cross Country meet, top three athletes from Kericho County stole the show.

A seasoned athlete Sheila Chepkirui, 31, from Kericho County stayed strong in the women’s 10km course to clinch first position in 33.18minutes. She holds a record in the women’s 10km course held in Brasov, Romania during the Brasov Running Festival held on 25 September this year with a record of 30.07 minutes and is also the 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist.  Grace Laibach came in second in 33.29 minutes and Violah Chemweno came in third in 33.47 minutes. All the athletes were from Kericho.

In an interview with KNA , Africa Junior Women 2016 Cross Country champion Miriam Cherop, 22, who competes both internationally and locally said she hopes to improve her performance in Sotik after clinching position 26 in the 10km women’s race.

 “I have trained well and this time around I hope to perform better than how I performed in the 1st Betika Kericho County Cross Country where my personal best time was 36.44minutes. The race was very competitive but with God I know I will do much better,” said Cherop.

By Sarah Njagi

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