World champions Sum, Kiprop lead chase for Bahamas tickets

By elvince joshua
Apr 24, 2021
  • Eunice Sum will compete at the Safaricom Relays finale on Saturday.(Photo:SNA File)

  • Janeth Jepkosgei at a past relays meeting.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

A fine blend of youth and experience will be paraded under the Nyayo National Stadium floodlights this weekend as Kenya seeks to pick its team to next month’s inaugural World Relays Championships in the Bahamas.

Two-time World 1,500 metres champion, Asbel Kiprop, who is also a 2008 Olympic gold medallist, will line up alongside teenage schoolgirl sensation Maureen Thomas highlighting Athletics Kenya’s selectors’ strategy of inspiring young runners while at the same time banking on the experience of veterans in squad selection at Saturday’s Safaricom National Relays Series.

The climax of the five-meet Safaricom Relays Series, sponsored by the mobile telephone service provider, Saturday’s grand finale has attracted several World and Olympic champions, according to the start-list released by Athletics Kenya on Thursday.

They will compete in the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x800m and 4x1,500m seeking to garner tickets to the IAAF World Relays Championships that will be held in the Bahamas capital city, Nassau, on May 24 and 25.

Sum, Jepkosgei headline women list

Current and former World 800m champions top the list in the women’s 4x800m with Eunice Sum, Diamond League winner and gold medallist at last year’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, teaming up with 2007 Osaka World champion and the second-fastest Kenyan over the distance, Janeth Jepkosgei.

Throw in 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist Cherono Koech (a 1:59.68 runner) into the mix, then most certainly the selectors will be gleefully looking to put together a team that should have little difficulty in snapping up the gold in Bahamas.

Kiprop, Commonwealth champion Silas Kiplagat and World Indoor 3,000m champion Caleb Mwangangi are the stars in the men’s 4x1,500m relay with the women’s event featuring 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion Nancy Jebet Lagat and World Indoor 3,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri.

Lagat competed in the 5,000m at the Kisii Athletics Kenya weekend meeting looking to build on her endurance and get a ticket to the Bahamas.

National 100 metres record holder Tom Musinde (10.26 seconds) tops the 4x100m list that also includes the powerful Philip Ngwono and Brian Gatura while Eunice Kadogo, a 12.15 runner, will spearhead the women’s short sprint.

At the last Athletics Kenya weekend track and field meeting at the Gusii Stadium a fortnight ago, Maureen Nyatichi Thomas underscored her running pedigree when the Form Three student at Kisii’s Nyota Secondary School cruised to victory in the sprints, signaling her determination to join the Bahamas-bound team.

Interest on 4 x 4

But the biggest excitement will be reserved for the 4x400m relays going up with Kenya seeking to reclaim its lost glory in the one-lap relays that saw the country stun the world with an Olympic gold in the Munich ’72 Olympics.

London Olympics racer Vincent Kosgei will be on show along with promising talent Alexander Lerionka Sampao, the 18-year-old bronze medallist at last year’s IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, and Nicholas Bett who, like Kosgei, is a specialized hurdler.

It even gets better with the women’s 4x400m relays where poster girls Olympian Maureen Jelagat, yet another converted hurdler, and Milicent Ndoro will team up with the indefatigable 54.31 veteran Grace Kidake, Charity Wandia and Jacinta Shikanda seeking to impress the selectors.

A panel of four judges, lead by NOCK-K chairman,- Kipchoge Keino, Joyce Odhiambo, Noah Ngeny, Sammy Rono, and Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch, will be charged with the task of selecting the team.

Diamond 10km race

Nairobi will on next month(May)18 host the first edition of the Nairobi Diamond 10km road race event.

Over 5000 runners are expected to hit the tarmac in the event to be used by Athletics Kenya (AK) as a leverage to lobby for future qualification of Kenya as the host of IAAF Diamond League events in Africa Laban Komen, 10km World record holder alongside Kenneth Kemboi, former Africa champions will grace the event that Kenya will also to drum up support to host the 2017 Youth Championship.

Registration opens on Thursday, April 23 with individual, both men and women parting with Ksh.1000 while corporate will pay Ksh. 30,000.

Safaricom Relays finale Start list: 4x100m (men): Walter Moenga, Boniface Khagai, Stephen Barasa, Tom Musinde, Brian Gatura, Tony Chirchir, Enock Omega, Philip Ngwano. 4x100m (women): Eunice Kadogo, Beryl Wamira, Freshia Mwangi, Diana Mutsenje, Jentrix Nelima, Sellina Kellong, Caroline Waiganjo, Regina Mulatya. 4x200m (men): Stanley Kieti, Josephat Mukuria, Collins Omae, Titus Kirui, Brown Njoka, John Kituu, Geoffrey Githeka, Charles Wamwea. 4x200m (women): Maureen Thomas, Sabina Mukoswa, Gladys Musyoki, Rose Cherono, Hellen Syombua, Damaris Mbula, Jean Simiyu, Anastacia Kanini. 4x400m (men): Boniface Mucheru, Alex Sampao, Vincent Kosgei, Kiprono Kosgei, Solomon Bwoga, Elijah Manangoi, Nicholas Bett, Evans Omullo. 4x400m (women): Maureen Jelagat, Grace Kidake, Jacinta Shikanda, Millicent Ndoro, Florence Wasike, Damaris Imbogo, Eglay Nalianya, Charity Wandia. 4x800m (men): Patrick Rono, Nathan Biwott, Sammy Kirongo, Edwin Kemboi, Nicholas Kiplagat, Abraham Kiplagat, Ferguson Rotich, Job Kinyor, Cornelius Kiplagat, Jeremiah Mutai, Anthony Chemut, Robert Biwott. 4x800m (women): Miriam Chepkemoi, Sylvia Chesebe, Purity Chepkoech, Agatha Jeruto, Jecinta Abesi, Annete Mwanzia, Sheilla Chesang, Agnes Mulee, Sylvia Cherop, Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei, Cherono Koech. 4x1,500m (men): Hillary Maiyo, Robert Kaptingei, Bernard Kipkorir, Zablon Kipchumba, Geoffrey Rono, Abednego Chesebe, Vincent Letting, Nixon Chepseba, Joseph Magut, Collins Cheboi, Bethwell Birgen, Silas Kiplagat, Caleb Mwangangi, Asbel Kiprop, Augustine Choge, Elijah Kipchirchir. 4x1,500m (women): Ann Karindi, Caroline Chepkemoi, Caroline Chepkoech, Beatrice Chepkoech, Mercy Chebet, Fancy Cherotich, Damaris Mutua, Irene Jelagat, Perin Nenkampi, Sela Jepleting, Hellen Obiri, Nancy Lagat, Sheila Chepngetich, Janet Chesang, Purity Cherotich, Margaret Jelimo.