2013 world 800m champion Eunice Sum and reigning world Youth Champion 3000m Sandra Chebet produced superlative performances to claim victories Saturday, the opening day of the Athletics Kenya Track and Field championships at the Mumias Complex sports ground in Kakamega County.
Sum, out to reclaim her 800m world title at this year’s world championships in London after a disappointing past two seasons including a lackluster show at the Rio Olympics won the 1,500m.
Sum crossed the finish line first in 4:20.03 followed by upstart Loice Chemusong clocking 4:20.07 before Chebet completed the podium in 4:20.06.
But it was the second event for Chebet, who had earlier won the10,000m which she had also won at the Eldoret meeting in 2016.
Chebet clocked 33:56.00 to emerge victorious ahead of the 2016 African Gold Medalist Sheila Chepkurui who timed 34:09.10.
Chepkurui, the African Athletics 5,000m champion finished second ahead of Maureen Chepkemei who returned 34:17.10 for third.
It was a closely contested race with the three top finishers exchanging leads at the lead of the pack, before Chebet exploded in the last lap to breast the tape for the hard-earned victory.
Chebet is using the long races to build up on her endurance ahead of world championships trials.
“I had to compete in this long race to gauge my endurance ahead of world championships since I need to know how I can control my speed and power in finishing,” said Chebet.
She added that it was great winning the competition.
“I must say am slowly graduating into the senior category,” said Chebet, a form four student at Sarame. Chepkirui, who is a Corporal in the Kenya Defense Force (KDF), said she had lost to the strongest runner on the field.
“I would go back to work on my timing. I started well but my timing at the end of the race cost me dearly,” said Chepkirui.
Tabunda wins 400m hurdles
In the 400 metres women’s hurdles final race, Priscah Tabunda, from the KDF, clocked 63:04 seconds to win the race. Close on her heels was Virginia Kasioka who returned 64:02, while Nancy Sang was third in 64:07.
Alex Kibet clocked 13:53.04 won the men’s first 5000m heat, Robert Kipchirichir was second on 13:55.08, while Charles Karanja was third in 13:56.06. Moses Koech won the 5,000 metres Heat 2 race.
In the 100 metres heat one Maurice Wasike won in 10.07, Julius Nyamai was second on 11.01, while Elijah Simbieyo was third in 11.04. Boniface Chitayi timed 10.09 for victory in second heat ahead of John Sirengo second in 11.2. Emmanuel Lentu won heat three in 11.00, Alvine Wekesa was second in 11.02, while Peter Makakuba was third in 11.4. 2