A forceful start for track champions

Published on 23/05/2009

By Mutwiri Mutuota

First day action at this year’s Armed Forces Championships saw defending 10,000m titleholders, Barnabas Kosgei and Lineth Chepkurui retain their crowns in contrasting fashion.

Elsewhere, Olympic 1,500m champion, Nancy Jebet Lagat and newly-conscripted private, Veronica Nyaruai, the former world 3,000m champion, sailed through to today’s 1,500m final after winning their semis.

In the first highlight decider of the day, Chepkurui, who also won the senior women’s Forces cross country title in February before finishing fourth at the Amman World Cross, held off her only challenger, Peninah Arusei to keep her title.

The Moi Air Base runner returned 32:57.1 for victory after engaging the afterburners in the last 250m to relegate Arusei (Thika, 33:01.5) to runner-up slot, while former world champion, Sally Barsosio (Nairobi, 33:47.3) settled for third.

All Africa Games bronze medallist (10,000m) Irene Kwambai (Embakasi) timed 34:31.8 for fourth.

In the men’s 10,000m final, Nanyuki Air Base athlete, Kosgei was handed a monumental scare by Thika newcomer and former world junior champion, Joseph Ebuya but soldiered on to retain his crown by three hundredth of a second.

Kosgei, the runaway winner last year breasted the tape in 28:44.3 against the challenger’s 28:44.6 with Kiprono Menjo (Mab, 28:45.10) leading the chasing pack in third.

World Military Games 10,000m champion, John Korir (Embakasi, 28:49.2) who was in the frame for a podium finish in early exchanges faded to fifth behind fourth placed Kiplimo Kimutai (Laikipia Airbase, 28:47.2).

In the first women’s 1,500m semi, Jebet Lagat (Mab) easily won in 4:27.2 to qualify for today’s final where she will face team mate Nyaruai, who is returning to action after taking time off for military training.

Nyaruai won the second semi in 4:32.2 but the Olympic champion will be the overwhelming favourite.

Jebet Lagat also qualified for the 800m decider after winning her semi in 2:11.7. Charity Wandia, who finished fourth at last year’s Africa championships, won the other women’s two-lap semi in 2:11.5.

World Military Games champion and Africa 1,500m silver medallist, Gideon Gathimba (Laikipia) is the runner to beat over that distance in today’s final after topping his semi in 3:46.3. Laikipia’s Simon Gichuki set the quickest time of the qualifiers while winning the first semi in 3:44.4 and he is another to watch.



Read all about: athletics armed forces champions Barnabas Kosgei Lineth Chepkurui Jebet Lagat Veronica Nyaruai



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