Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Kericho athletes qualify for World Cross Country championships

Three athletes from Kericho are among those selected to participate in Trials for the World Cross Country championships to be held in Bathurst, Australia, next year.

Double Olympic champions, Miriam Chebet and Beatrice Chebet, will be competing for a slot as well as a budding athlete, Enock Kipkorir Cheruiyot, who has shown great improvements in Athletics Kenya (AK) cross country build up races.

The Kenya Athletic Trials slated for December 10, at the Kenya Prisons Training College in Ruiru, will be used to select the track team for the World Athletics Cross country games, to be held on February 18th in Bathurst, Australia.

The three runners are eager to make it to the global event as they train in their track disciplines.

In an interview with 2016 Africa Junior Women Cross Country champion, Miriam Cherop, at Kericho Green Stadium, during a training session of seasoned and upcoming Kericho athletes, she said she is targeting to make it to the podium as she trains hard for the trials.

Cherop, 23, who competes in the 10km and 2 km senior women races, added that the 5th Athletic Kenya (AK) Cross Country Build on December 3rd held at Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet provided her with a chance to purge her spirit and train hard and is hopeful of making it to the Kenyan team for the World Athletics Cross Country championships.

In the race, the Kericho based athlete who emerged position five in the 2km women race with 30 contestants, admits that she is happy with her trainings and performances in several build- up AK competitions.

“My preparations have been going on well and my hope is to qualify for the trials for the international competition and see myself compete in Bathurst, Australia. In the 1st Betika sponsored Kericho Cross Country race I was position 26 clocking 36:44 out of 40 contestants where I participated in the 10km senior women race. In the 3rd AK Cross Country build up series held in Sotik, Bomet, I participated in the 10km women race where I emerged position eight out of 71 contestants clocking 32:02.4, and during the 5th AK Cross Country build up series held in Iten, Eldoret I participated in the 2km senior women race where I was position seven out of 30 contestants clocking 06:58.7.”Cherop said.

The 23 year old seasoned athlete bagged silver in 2018 World Under-20 in 1,500m held in Tampere, Finland.

Also heading for the Trials is an upcoming athlete, Enock Kipkorir, 19, who has so far shone in the 3rd AK Cross Country build-up series in the 8km U20 held in Sotik, where he took position 10 clocking 22:41.5, an improvement in his earlier performance witnessed in the 4th AK Cross Country build-up series held in Olkalau, where he took position 14 with a personal best of 24:00.0 in the 8km U20.

“The race was competitive with the terrain being tough, I am happy with my progress and I am hopeful to make it to Team Kenya.” Cheruiyot said.

Their Coach who doubles up as AK First Vice Chairman, Kericho Branch Gabriel Kiptanui, said the trio is dedicated and consistent in their trainings and was optimistic that they would qualify to be among those representing Kenya in the World Cross Country championships in Australia.

“The team is dedicated and consistent and I can say they posted encouraging personal best times during the AK build up competitions. I am positive they will continue posting excellent results from their various disciplines in the Trials and make it to Team Kenya.” said coach Kiptanui.

Beatrice Chebet, a long distance runner and silver medalist in the 5,000m at the 2022 World Athletics Championships and gold medals at the 2022 African Championships and 2022 Commonwealth Games, will feature in the 10km senior women race at the Trials, added Kiptanui.

Runners in Kiptanui’s stable include female long distance runner and 2015 Steeplechase World champion, Stella Chelangat, 2019 800m silver medalist 2019 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 Women’s 3,000m in 2007 in Ostrava, Czech Republic and the reigning world 3,000 steeplechase champion, Beatrice Chepkoech.

By Sarah Njagi

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