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Athletes optimistic of winning cross country championships

Eight upcoming athletes from Kericho County are set to compete in the Athletics Kenya (AK) National Cross Country Championships due on 21 January this year at Kenya Prisons Training College, Ruiru.

AK Kericho County First Vice Chairman Gabriel Kiptanui in an interview with KNA at Kericho Green Stadium, said he was confident that the six men and two women athletes will post excellent results from their various track disciplines as they had shown consistency in their trainings.

Kiptanui who doubles up as head coach said, “I am positive the eight athletes will post excellent results in the national Cross-Country Championships to be held on Saturday in Ruiru. They have shown commitment and discipline in their trainings. The just concluded Nyanza South Cross country games held on 9 January, Kericho athletes posted impressive results and qualified for the national cross country championships.  Three are set to race in the 8km junior men under 20, one will compete in the 10km senior women race, one athlete will compete in the mixed relay race, two are set to compete in the 10km men race and one athlete will take part in the 10km senior women race. I am positive this year the upcoming athletes will guarantee exceptional performance,” Kiptanui said.

He added that the region has great potential for producing great runners with many having brought home medals after competing in international athletic championships.

In an interview with a budding athlete Vincent Mutai, 17, he said he was hopeful of doing well in the competition after clocking position two in the Nyanza South cross-country games.

“I think this year I will be a good year. With God and with the help of my coach Gabriel I know I will perform well in all my races. I am hopeful of achieving excellent results in the national cross country championships as I was position two with a personal best time of 24:25.0 and I am now training hard to achieve a personal best time of 24:12.0 in my track discipline, the 8km junior men,”said Mutai.

In the same breath Kevin Chepkwony, 16, said he was hopeful of posting better results in the national cross country games after finishing position 6 in the 8km junior men during the Nyanza South cross country games.

Runners in Kiptanui’s stable include female long distance runner and 2015 steeplechase world champion Stella Chelangar, 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 the World youth record in Women’s 3000m in 2007 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Africa Junior women 2016 cross country champion Miriam Cherop and the reigning 3000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.

By Sarah Njagi

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