World champion Asbel Kiprop, 2013 Double gold medalist Vivian Cheruiyot alongside reigning World cross country champion Geoffrey sparkled on Saturday the final day of the Kenya Athletics championships, the world championships evidently on their mind.
In perfect racing conditions, a cloudless and sunny afternoon, Geoffrey Kamworor electrified the scattered crowds, mainly athletes at the Safaricom Kasarani stadium as he claimed the national 5000m title.
Kamworor, 22, prevailed in a time of 13:14.7 a minute and 14 seconds short of the 19-year national set by Daniel Komen (12:39.74) in Brussels. From the opening six kilometers, one could sense the 5000m was going to be a barn-burner.
At halfway, Emmanuel Kipsang, also 22 from the Defence Forces held the lead at the pack of a group of four which included Isaiah Koech, the 2013 World Championships 5000m bronze medalist, Emmanuel Bett and Kamworor.
Kipsang looked like a man on a mission, but in the ninth lap, Kamworor took over the lead. With a lap to go Koech sprang to the front, opening a gap of about 20 meters but Kamworor caught upand held on to comfortably win the race in 13:14.7.
Koech still struggling to find form after the hamstring injury that dogged him at the 2013 national trials is pleased with his peaking shape. He clocked 13:23.3 behind Police teammate Kamworor as Kipsang came third in 13:25.4.
Cheruiyot looks to regain 5k title
Kamworor was using the race to build up for his preferred race 10000m but Head coach Julius Kirwa holds a different view.
“I hope we can convince Kamworor to run the 12 laps. Aftre watching him today am more than convinced that this is the man who could easily win the world title in Beijing,”said Kirwa. Daegu 5000m and 10000m, Vivian Cheruiyot effortlessly won the 1500m final, a race used to sharpen her speed ahead of the July 30th trials clocking 4:09.88.
“This race will help me have a good kick in the final lap of the 5000m where I am looking to regain my title,”said Cheruiyot well aware that even in the absence of her usual track rival Tirunesh Dibaba who is out on her maternity break, her on form younger sister Genzebe Dibaba will be one of the key runners to beat in Beijing.
Judy Kiyeng of KDF came second in 4:11.46 as Sellah Jepleting also of KDF, overcame a nasty fall third in 4:13.21.
Kiprop targets season best after 800m win
Asbel Kiprop, running the two lap event instead of his preferred 1500m warmed up for his Diamond League race next week in Monaco and the trials with an impressive 1:45.4 to win . Kiprop, set to race in next week’s Monaco race against double Olympic champion Mo Farah for the first time in the four-lap race, says he welcomes Farah to challenge him in his favourire field.
“I’m racing next week in Monaco with Mo Farah in the 1500m. I have to post a season’s best may be. In Beijing, it will be my priority to defend my title and to win gold for Kenya for the third time in Beijing,” said Kiprop, confident of his chances against the double Olympic and World champion.
The women’s 5000m race saw Kenya Police’s Janeth Khisa clock 15:28.1 ahead of her colleague Margaret Chelimo who timed15:28.6 to bag the 12-lap race title.
In the 3000m steeple chase, Commonwealth gold medalist Purity Cherotich lost to Hyvin Kiyeng, the winner of the diamond league in Rome. Kiyeng perfectly timed her kick after trailing Cherotich for most of the race, easing forward in the last 400m with the club champion hot on her heels. Kiyeng however managed to cut the tape first in 9:33.40 in a photo finish with Cherotich who timed 9:33.41.
“I’m now focused on the national trials where I hope I can lower my Personal best to around 9:20,” said Cherotich.
Joash Kiplimo of Kenya Prisons fought hard to win the men’s 3000m steeple chase final, clocking 8:24.26, ahead of Hillary Kemboi in 8:24.28 as Geoffrey Ng’eno of KDF came third when he clocked 8:24.81.
Anneta Mwanfi of Western won the women’s 800m race, posting 2:04.9 ahead of Sylvia Chesebe of Prisons who posted 2:05.2 as KDF’s Fridah Mwikali was third in 2:05.5,in a race that featured Beijing(1500) Olympic champion Nancy Jebet Lagat who was eighth on saturday and Burundian Francine Niyonsaba the surprise 2012 African Champion, now based at the High Perfomance Training Center in Eldoret, who staggered home in 10th still struggling to find her form after a lengthy injury lay off.
Vincent Yator of Central Rift won the men’s 10000m race in 27:51.0 with Charles Yosei (Western) and James Rungaru (Eastern) clocked 28:02.2 and respectively.