Rising stars upstage track veterans


Published on 31/05/2009

Susan Chepkemei (367) leads the 10,000m race ahead of winner, Pauline Wangui (partly hidden). Photo: Jonah Onyango/Standard

By Mutwiri Mutuota

A new era in Kenya Prisons athletics dawned as the department’s Inter Provincial championships concluded at Nyayo National Stadium.

With four individual titles, Africa heptathlon silver medallist, Florence Wasike was the undisputed toast of the two-day event that ended on Saturday.

Susan Chepkemei (367) leads the 10,000m race ahead of winner, Pauline Wangui (partly hidden). Photo: Jonah Onyango/Standard

Wasike (Nyanza) won the women’s 100m (12.0), 200m (25.2), 100m hurdles (15.0) and 400m Hurdles (59.2) events and finished runner-up in the 400m (55.0) and Long jump (5.79m).

“I’m targeting to make my first appearance at the world championships in the 400m Hurdles race. I appeal to Athletics Kenya (AK) to register me in a race abroad mid next month so that I can seek the qualifying time,” Wasike told FeverPitch.

This year’s edition will be remembered as the event where new forces emerged to relegate the old guard that has served Prisons athletics with excellence over the years.

New recruit Pauline Wangui who beat world marathon champion, Catherine Ndereba at The Hague half marathon (1:10.50 against 1:11:35) in March staked claim to be the Olympics champions successor at Prisons with a classy double victory in the women’s 5,000m and 10,000m.

Competing in Prisons Staff Training College (PSTC) colours, Wangui clocked 16:20.8 (5,000m) and 33:49.5 (10,000m) for victory.

“I want to concentrate on training for the national championships and trials with an aim of qualifying in the team for Berlin,” Wangui said.

Proud record

Spotted at last year’s national championships where she finished second to Ndereba, Wangui is keen to succeed the twice world marathon champion.

“She has a proud record here and I joined this department to follow in her footsteps,” the new double champion said.

Ndereba (Central, 16:48.4) was fourth in the 5,000m event while Boston Marathon champion, Salina Kosgei (Western) clocked 17:10.0 for sixth in the same race. Agnes Katunge (Headquarters, 16:26.0) and Caroline Kwambai (Coast, 16:39.5) came second and third.

Rising two-lap star and defending champion Reuben Bett (Headquarters) was peerless in men’s 800m, timing 1:47.6 to lead Central pair Edwin Kiprop (1:47.9) and Isaac Kipketer (1:48.2) to the podium. “With so many quality runners in 800m, it will not be easy to make the Kenya team but I’m satisfied with my progression,” said Bett, the holder of the eighth fastest time this year of 1:44.79 ran in Belem Brazil on May 24.

Third title

He was scheduled to depart last evening for Germany where he is scheduled to compete at a meeting in D¸sseldorf on Tuesday.

Patrick Langat (Headquarters) sealed his third consecutive Prisons men’s 3,000m steeplechase title with a commanding 8:39.6 victory over Michael Bor (PSTC) and Joseph Yegon (Rift Valley) who trailed in 8:50.0 and 9:00.0 for second and third.

Eastern’s Jane Murage (10:13.8) won the women’s race ahead of guest runners Pamela Lisoreng (10:28.1) and Nancy Nzila (10:42.0).

PSTC’s Tabitha Wambui stormed to the Kenya Prisons record books in women’s 1,500m with a 4:18.0 effort for victory ahead of defending champion, Jane Mwikali (4:22.7, Coast) and Agnes Katunge (4:24.6, Headquarters). J Muraguri’s 4:20.0 mark was the previuos Prisons’ best.

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