Ten seasoned and budding athletes from Kericho County are set to compete in the National Cross-Country Championships due on 22 January this year at Kapseret in Eldoret.
The race will set the stage for the Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country tour to be held in memory of the late Agnes Tirop who was found murdered last October at her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Athletics Kenya (AK), Kericho County First Vice-Chairman, Gabriel Kiptanui, in an interview with KNA, said he was expecting positive results from the six women and four men athletes who had shown consistency in their training and posted excellent results during the regional cross-country race held in Njoro, Nakuru County on January 8 this year.
“The team is dedicated and consistent in their training and I can say they posted encouraging personal best times and led in the South Rift region.
Their outstanding performances during the regional cross-country race held in Njoro, Nakuru County, qualified them for the national cross-country event which will set the pace for the Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country Tour to be held in memory of 2015 World Cross Country champion, the late Agnes Tirop at Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County next month on a date to be confirmed by AK,” Kiptanui said.
Kiptanui, who doubles up as the head coach of the team said he was confident the ten will post excellent results from their various disciplines as they were dedicated to their running careers.
The (AK) Kericho County First Vice Chairman is a renowned technician who has produced a number of top track stars among them the reigning world 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.
In an interview with a budding athlete Faith Chepkoech, 18, at Gariete Athletics Training Camp in Kericho, who emerged fourth in the 6km regional cross-country race with a personal best time of 19:23 said she is aiming to be among the top six in her discipline.
Chepkoech further said running is her passion and added she is optimistic of representing the country in world races in the near future with hopes of following in her sister’s footsteps who too is also a budding athlete.
“I started training in 2018 and I have been keenly watching my sister, Sheila Chelangat who managed to get a slot to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in the 15,000metres race and emerged position 17 overall.
I train at Gariete Athletics Training camp with coach Gabriel and I believe I will one day compete in the international athletics competitions and bring home gold.
The regional cross-country competition was very competitive and I emerged fourth but am aiming to be in top to qualify for the Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country Tour during the National cross-country championships,” said Chepkoech.
Kiptanui said Chepkoech was dedicated and consistent in her training and was hopeful she will emerge a winner, noting that the future looks bright for the talented, youthful athlete.
By Sarah Njagi