• Geoffrey Kipsang wins police 5000 title,Cheruiyot and Koech dominate 1500m

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  • Vivian Cheruiyot leads a past race.(Photo:File)Vivian Cheruiyot leads a past race.(Photo:File)
May 18, 2012-

Double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot impressive pre-Olympic form continued with a fantastic home run in the 1500m race at the Kenya Police championships, Friday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The men’s 1500m was equally exciting with Silas Koech, fourth in the 5000m race in Daegu last year outsprinting his training partner Paul Kipsiele Koech for the Police title.

Cheruiyot aiming to qualify for the 5000m and 10000m at London 2012 opted for 1500m to build up her speed over shorter distances.

This she did with a great finish of 4:06.0 in a race that also included the newly crowned Kenya Police 5000m champion Lucy Kabuu, who returned to the track barely 24 hour after winning the longer event to test her pace.

The two runners ran shoulder to shoulder through most of the race until the 200m when Cheruiyot, fresh from her epic 3000m triumph in Doha last Friday over Olympic champion Ethiopian Meserat Defar, pulled away from Kabuu and Mary Kuria who both timed at the 4:08.6.

“This was a good test of speed as I prepare for my Olympic qualifications,” said Cheruiyot, who is attached to the Criminal Investigation Department, CID.

“It was a good race with Kabuu and am looking forward to racing her in the 10000m after running one race in Rome.”

The men’s race was closely contested with the field sticking together until the last 400m when Isaiah Koech stretched out, trying to shake off Kipsiele. But Kipsiele briefly threatened to surge past his towering partner whose lanky strides paid off as he won in 3:38.7. Kipsiele crossed the line in 3:39.1 ahead of third placed Nicholas Kemboi 3:39.7.

Nicholas Polonet finished fourth(3:40.4) ahead of another steeplechaser the reigning Commonwealth Games champion Richard Matelong’. “I have been working on my endurance so I just wanted to test my speed as I work on my finishing power,” said Koech, a former world Youth champion.

For Kipsiele it was yet another test on the challenging altitude conditions that have often failed him during Kenya trials for World championships or Olympics.

“I have intensified my training at high altitude and I just wanted to see how I fair in the shorter race at high altitude. It has been a struggle for me for the last 11 years struggling to qualify top in the trials,” said the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist who trains with Koech in Kericho.

“Am hoping that AK this time will stick to their 1-2-3 system across the line and hopefully I make it among the top. But if they decide to pick on a wild card then they should the fastest man in the event,” added the seasoned steeplechaser who ran a world lead of 7:56.58 a week ago at the opening leg of the Diamond League series in Doha.

Teenager Geoffrey Kipsang, the reigning World junior cross country champion ruled roost in the men’s 5000m event with a strong sprint finish in the homestretch in 13:34.3. Kipsang, 19, who moved up the senior ranks with a dominant win at the Seville cross country in January(32:55) peeled away from the rest of the field in the last two laps with Joseph Bett trailing him. He never slipped out of the lead for his first major track win at home.

“I want to try and qualify for the 5000m for the Olympics, which will determine whether I race on track or move up to the marathon,” said Kipsang winner of the 2011 Lille and Berlin half marathons (1:00.38) who had been enlisted for the 10000m national trials held last month which he skipped as he had paced the Rotterdam marathon up until the 30k mark.

“I will fight to make the Olympic team.” His prohibitive condition for the competitive track event confirming Athletics Kenya’s head coach Julius Kirwa’s concerns top local long distance track runners moving too soon to the more lucrative marathon running.

Kipsang’ also paced for Patrick Makau in his World Record run at the Berlin marathon. Nixon Chepseba, the 2011 Diamond League series winner won the 800m in 1:45.6 with Ismael Kombichi second(1:46.4) while Nelly Korir won the women’s race in 2:04.4.


 Evelyn Watta

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