Home date for Jelimo

Published on 24/06/2009

By Mutwiri Mutuota

Celebrated female Olympic heroines, Pamela Jelimo (women 800m) and Nancy Jebet Lagat (women 1,500m) will star at the New KCC/AK National Athletics Championships.

They will compete for their Kenya Police and Armed Forces teams with Jelimo taking part in the 400m relays while Jebet Lagat will be out to wrest the national title from Irene Jelagat Birgen in her race.

“I’m ready for the event after recovering from a slight injury that held me back in Oregon and Russia,” Lagat told FeverPitch yesterday at the Nyayo Stadium where she was training ahead of the three-day event that starts tomorrow.

Commenting on the races that saw her return disappointing eighth (Prefontaine Oregon, 4:05.05) and was relegated to third (4:12.18) at the Russian challenge earlier this month, Lagat said:

“My body refused to respond well, but I have enough time to get back to my best shape (ahead of Berlin) since I’m still the athlete who won in Beijing.”

Her coach, Italian Claudio Berardelli told FeverPitch: “We took her for complete testing after Oregon and she was found to have an infection. She has recovered from it and she is full of morale to do well for Kenya at the World Championships.”

At the same time, Berardelli disclosed world 800m champions, Alfred Kirwa Yego (men) and Janeth Jepkosgei (women) were not likely to feature at the national event.

“We have planned for them to participate in Rome (Grand Gala, July 10) or Athens (Grand Prix, July 13) but we will discuss with the federation first.”

Jepkosgei, who won gold in Osaka in 2007 and silver in Beijing last year is yet to open her track season.

“I pulled out of Oregon with injury but I’m now working to get prepared for Berlin,” Jepkosgei said.

Kirwa who finished second (1:46.21) to American Nick Symmonds in Oregon was guarded on his prospects for Berlin.

“I will try my best and my training is coming on well,” the Olympic two-lap bronze medallist offered.

At the same time, Jelimo who caused concern with two unsatisfactory outings in Rabat (sixth, 2:02.46) and Oregon (seventh, 2:05.07) will don her kit to compete in the women’s 400m relays.

“It will be to give her competitive experience ahead of the Trials at the distance she began her career,” her agent, Barnaba Korir said.

The manager insisted that after the championships, the teenage women’s two-lap phenomenon would retreat for more build-up ahead of Berlin.

“We want her to focus wholly on doing well at the World Championships, that is her main aim.”

Jelimo is the reigning 400m Africa Junior champion, her first major honour won in 2007 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

She will arrive in Nairobi today from Kapsabet where she has been training.

Meanwhile, Athletics Kenya (AK) executive agreed on sending Armed Forces 100m champion, Stephen Soi to the July 18 Abuja Grand Prix in an effort to enable him clock the Berlin A-Standard qualification of 10.02.

Soi, who ran a hand timed 10.00 at the Forces event is the country’s biggest hope in the dash race.

“We will liaise with the ministry to sponsor him for Abuja. If he qualifies for 100m it will be great encouragement for him,” AK general secretary, David Okeyo told FeverPitch.

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