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Athletes optimistic of great triumphs in the 2023 season

Seasoned and upcoming athletes training in Kericho have vowed to light up in both local and international track and field events scheduled in the Athletics Kenya (AK) calendar of events for the 2023 season.

The team is hopeful of bringing back home medals as they train at Kericho athletics club. In an interview with KNA on Tuesday, First Vice Chairman Kericho Branch Gabriel Kiptanui expressed confidence that the athletes will post excellent results from their various field and track disciplines in this year’s athletics season.

He revealed that the team which has star studded athletes posted positive results during the 1st AK Track and Field weekend meeting held at Moi Stadium, Kisumu on February 11 and was confident of attaining exemplary results during the 2nd AK Track and Field two-day weekend meeting set to start on 24 February at Nyayo stadium, Nairobi.

“The athletes are dedicated and consistent and I can say they posted encouraging results during the 1st AK Track and Field weekend meeting held at Moi Stadium, Kisumu on 11 February 11 and 12 and I am confident in the 2nd AK Track and Field two-day weekend meeting set to start on 24 February they will do their best and also in the coming local and international athletic events slated for this year.” said Kiptanui.

Kiptanui who doubles up as an athletics coach and trains more than 20 athletes said the region has great potential for producing great runners with many having brought home medals after competing in previous World athletic championships.

In an interview with 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World U18 Champion Caren Chebet, 23, who competes both internationally and locally for Kenya, she said she was confident of winning in her 3000m steeplechase track discipline.

“I emerged position one both the 1500m heats and in the 3000m steeplechase during the 1st AK Track and Field weekend meeting held at Moi Stadium, Kisumu on February 11. I emerged position three in the Africa Senior championships held in Reduit, Mautitius in June 2022 with my personal best time of 8: 8.0 minutes.  I thank Coach Gabriel for my excellent performances both in local and international competitions and I hope for the best in the 2nd weekend meeting where I will compete in the 800m.” said Chebet.

Rono Kiplangat 18, an upcoming athlete in the 400m huddles was confident of posting excellent results following his positive performance at the 1st AK track and field weekend meeting in Kisumu held last weekend.

“It was too hot during the 1st AK weekend meeting in Kisumu but I emerged position one in the 400m huddles and the 110m huddles.  Last athletics season I did not do well in the Africa Athletics Championships held in Mauritius in June where I became position four in the 400m huddles,” Kiplangat said.

“This season, I started well and my target this year is to win and I am positive I will qualify in the national trials to bring back a gold medal in the Africa U18/U20 championships to be held in Lusaka Zambia on 19 April to April 23 this year,” he added.

Runners in Kiptanui’s stable include female long distance runner and 2015 steeplechase World champion Stella Chelangat, 2019 800m silver medalist World U20 in Tampere, Finland Kipngetich Ngeno, 2013 World U18 1,500m steeplechase gold medalist Robert Biwott, Mercy Cherono who broke World Youth record in the women’s 3000m in 2007 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Africa Junior women 2016 cross country champion Miriam Cherop and the world 3,000 steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.

Major local and  international track and field events to watch out for this year include the World Cross country Championships  set to be held in Bathurst, Australia on 18 February, First Lady Half Marathon to be held in Nairobi on 12 March, Trials for Africa U18/U220 championships to be held at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi on 24 March, World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships from 25 March to April 1 in Tarun, Iran, Africa U18/U20 championships to be held in Lusaka Zambia on 19 April to April 23 and the 5th Eldoret City Marathon  to be held in Eldoret on 16 April.

By Sarah Njagi

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