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Anyango bags 2nd Betika Kericho Cross Country Race

Emmaculate Anyango stole the show at the 2nd Betika Kericho Cross Country meet held at the Kericho Tea Hotel grounds on Sunday.

The races sponsored by Betika Betting Company featured 10km race categories for both men and women and mixed relay competitions.

The seasoned athlete bagged silver in the Africa U20 championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in 2019 in the 3000m race and emerged as the winner in the 32nd Edition of Discovery Kenya Cross Country Senior Women’s 8km race held at Eldoret Sports Club in Uasin Gishu County on January 29, 2023.

Anyango edged out top-ranking athletes to a surprise win in the 10km senior women, ahead of 10km world record holder Agnes Chebet, who came in second, and 2015 World youth 3000m bronze medalist and national cross country champion Sheila Chelangat, who came in third in a tight race of 85 contestants.

The 19-year-old, who trains in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, said she hopes to make it to Team Kenya for the 2024 World Cross Country Championships to be held in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 30, 2024.

“The race had challenges, but I credit my coach for this incredible win. Everything is possible if you believe in yourself. I am preparing for two Athletic Kenya (AK) competitions in Kapsokwon and Iten, and after that, I will prepare for the World Cross Country Championships for next year,” she said.

Ishmael Kipkurui crossing the finishing line in the 10km senior men race at the 2nd Betika Kericho Cross Country race held at Kericho Tea Hotel grounds on Sunday. Photo by by Sarah Njagi

Prominent and upcoming athletes from Kericho, Nakuru, Baringo, Kapsabet, Eldoret, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kisii, Nakuru, and Bomet counties featured in the 10km women’s and men’s races and in the mixed relay competition, which included runners from Uganda and Eritrea.

In the senior men’s 10km race, Ishmael Kipkurui grabbed the number one slot, Johana Erot finished in second place, and Edwin Kiplangat came in third in a race that saw 185 athletes compete under the scorching sun.

Ishmael Kipkurui, 18, said he was pleased with his performance as he had trained well.

Kipkurui from Baringo County said this was his debut race and was happy with his performance.

“I am happy with my performance, and it is my first race to compete in the 10km senior men’s race, and I thank God for this. My personal best was 28:45.1. I am a Form Three student and am hopeful to train and make it to Team Kenya for the World Cross Country Championships,” said Kipkurui.

Athletics Kenya (AK) South Rift Chairman John Wachira, who graced the event, commended Betika while urging them to continue sponsoring more competitions in the future.

The top three winners in both male and female 10km races will bank their prize money of Sh 150,000, Sh 100,000, and Sh 75,000 following the completion of mandatory anti-doping procedures confirming negative results, qualifying them to pick up their cheques.

Betika head of branding Eric Mwiti confirmed that the 3rd Betika Cross Country Competition will be held in Kericho next year and commended the AK for the smooth running of the event.

By Sarah Njagi

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