The highlights of 2021 KENYA NATIONAL Cross Country Championship

The Kenya national cross country cum trials held over the weekend to select the team for the African cross country championship went on successfully at Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi.

The spirited effort displayed by athletes was unmatched, the spectacle witness reminiscent the days of Paul Tergat and John Ngugi, when the cross country was a Kenyan affair.

Defending champion and half marathon world record holder Kibiwott Kandie together with the twice world cross country champion, Geoffrey Kamworor was expected to produce a mouth-watering clash in 10km senior men. Nonetheless, Kamworor did not finish the race.

The duo were to  meet in the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon last week together with Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda. Kiplimo is the reigning world half marathon champion. Certainly, their mixture is a recipe for another world record,Kandie and Kamworor appearence at cross country was therefore a litmus test.

 Rodgers Kwemoi of Central Rift displayed a very tactical race to outsmart Kandie of the  Kenya Armed forces team and Edwin Bett of South Rift. However, Michael Kibet of North Rift thrills the championship by opening twenty-five meters gap at the early stages of the race.

But Kibiwot  Kandie set a ferocious pace concocted with speed and mileage forming a group of runners behind him who seems to have entrusted him to catch up the furious Kibet. At the penultimate lap, Kibet ran out of gas and he was overtaken by  Kandie,  Kwemoi, Bett, and Nicholas Kimeli.

Kandie's ability to produce a decisive surge at this stage never materialize, one thing was certain; Kwemoi was more relaxed and composed than he thought. Suddenly Kwemoi roared his engine full of gas at the closing stages of the race opening a significant gap, which enabled him to win in a time of 31:03.3. The runner-up was Kandie in 31:05.5

In the absence of Hellen Obiri -the world cross country champion, Sheila Chelagat of the Kenya police team capitalized on the opportunity to stamp authority in 10km senior women. Obiri however, anchored armed forces mixed relay team to emerge the winners.

Selected results.

10km senior men.
  1. Rodgers Kwemoi 31:03.3
  2. Kibiwott Kandie 31:05.5
  3. Edwin Bett 31:10.9
  4. Nicholas Kimeli 31;12.4
  5. Phenus Kipleting 31:14.6
  6. Phenus Kipleting 31:14.6
10km senior Women.
  1. Sheila Chelagat 34:55.5
  2. Daisy Cherotich 35:00.9
  3. Margaret Ngoiri 35:02.1
  4. gnes Chebet 35:07.7
  5. Everlyne Chirchir 35:10.0
  6. Hyvin Kiyeng 35:35:41.1
8km under 20 Men.
  1. Gideon Rono 24:43.6
  2. Benson Lagat 24:57.3
  3. Felix Korir 25: 24.2
6km under 20 Women.
  1. Purity Chepkurui 20:50.2
  2. Faith Chepkoech 21:16.7
  3. Feliciana Kanda 21:25.1

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