Top athletes set to battle for the honours at the 2021 AK/Lotto National Cross Country Championship at the Ngong Race Course, an event culminating in the selection of Kenya’s team for the Africa Cross Country championships scheduled for March 7 in Lome, Togo.
With no major races abroad in the near future, AK president Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei predicts stiff competition in all the seven categories at the grassy and sloping course on Saturday; 10km senior men and women, 8km Under-20 boys, 6km Under-20 girls, 6km Under-18 boys, 5km Under-18 girls and mixed relay.
“I attended a few meetings including the Discovery Kenya Cross Country and what I saw was a very commendable performance from our athletes. You know most of the athletes did not compete last year due to Covid-19 and that is why we have seen most of them compete in cross country meets.”
The national athletics chief added: “At the moment we don’t have any major races and I therefore expect all athletes who qualified for the nationals will compete for their respective teams.”
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), who minted last year’s men title through the reigning World Half Marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie who hopes to defend his title at the Saturday’s showpiece, have marshal a strong squad consisting of Kibiwott himself, Collins Koros and Eric Kiptanui among others.
World Cross Country champion Hellen Obiri will spearhead KDF’s women’s team alongside Joyce Chepkemoi, Sheila Chepkirui among others.
National Police have sent a strong team with the 2015 and 2017 world cross-country champion and world half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor as its figure head in the senior men’s race.
The men’s squad also have Josephat Kiprotich, Casios Masinde, Joseph Kiptum, Kipsang Temoi and Kenneth Cheserek in their menu.
Kericho-based Sheila Chelangat who stormed to the national limelight last year when she won both police cross country and national title and successful defended her police titles last month, will carry the police women’s flag alongside 2015 world steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng, Edith Chelimo, 2019 world 5000m silver medalist Margret Chelimo, Faith Kimutai and Caroline Nyaga.
After storming to easy victories at the Kenya Prisons Cross Country championships, Charles Mneria and Rosemary Wanjiru have the task of carrying their form for the wardens to Saturdays meet dubbed ‘mini worlds’.
Mneria will be flanked by Boaz Kiprugut, Wilfred Kimitei, Patrick Kipngeno, Emmanuel Ngatuny and Peter Emase.
Wanjiru, a fourth-place finisher at the 2019 World Championships in Doha have Lilian Kasait, Gladys Jerono Alice Aprot, Abigael Chelangat, and Loice Chemning.
Former World Half marathon and World Cross silver medalist Bedan Karoki has issued a warning to rivals ahead of the race will be wearing Central region colours alongside Paul Mutero, Moses Koech, Ronald Kirui, Emmanuel Kiprop, Emmanuel Kiboi for the men’s 10km event.
While Monica Ngige will be leading the Central Region women’s 10km team alongside Mary Nyaruai, Veronicah Maina, Joyce Njeru, Beatrice Cheboi and Lydia Njeri.
Central Rift region will mount an assault for the national title through Robert Kiprop, the winner of the 2021 Discovery Cross Country Championships in the men’s senior race. Nicholas Kimeli, Rodgers Kwemoi, Emmanuel Bor, Titus Kiprotich and Alex Kibet are included in the list.
Daisy Cherotich, Eva Cherono, Eunice Chebichi, Viola Lagat, Agnes Chebet and Betty Chepkemboi will be in the Centra Rift’s women’s 10km team.
North Rift will have Michael Kibet, Enus Keles, Emmanuel Ruto, Edward Kibet and Robert Krop in their men’s team while Irene Cheptai, Daisy Kimeli, Lilian Chemwono, Sharon Kemboi, Lilian Chebii and Vicotty Chepngeno in the women’s team.
Athletics rich South Rift men’s team will be represented by Edwin Bett, 2019 national champion Amos Kirui, Bernard kipkemboi, Nicholas Kosimbei, Leonard kipkirui and Vincent Rono while their women counterpart will consist of world under-20 5000m champion Beatrice Chebet, Jackline Rotich, Mercy Chepkorir, Jackline Chepngeno and Iveleen Chepkemoi.
The 2018 Africa Youth Olympics 1,500m champion Nickson Lesiyia who has transitioned to senior races will be in charge of Southern Region men’s team alongside Alexander Mutiso, who finished fourth at Valencia Half Marathon in December, Bernard Musau, the 2018 Youth Olympics 3,000m champion Jackson Kavesa, Emmanuel Lemama and Stephen Mwendwa.
The Southern Region women’s team will have Agnes Mumbua, Cecilia Wayua, Lucy Muli, Christine Ndanu, Pauline Mbithe and Nundu.
Kennedy Kemegwa, Geoffrey Musanga, Jacob Chechari, Isaac Kibet, Samuel Limo and Brian kiptoo will carry Western region’s men flag while their corresponding women team will have Delphin Mlingor, Beatrice Cherubet, Salome Chepchumba, Sarah Naibei, Susan Cheptai and Phanice Cheboriot.
Nyanza South entered Vincent Kipkirui, Sammy Nyokoe, Dickson Simba, Paul Machoka, Dancan Manyara and Enock Onchari in their men team while Winfridah Moseti, Teresa Omosa, Lornah Nyabochoa, Damaris Areba, Nancy Karage and Doris Omari will compete in the women’s senior team.
Nyanza North will be presented by Shadrack Kipchirchir, Willy Kiprono, Caleb Otieno, Hosea Kimosop, Ayub Kwanga and Kennedy Onsarigo with women’s team having Mercelin Cherono, Betty Chepngeno, Everlyne Chirchir, Eunice Kwamboka, Mercy Anyango and Tecla Kwambai.
The Coast Region will have Phanuel Mkungu, Daniel Kemoi, Vincent Tonui, Boniface Nduva, Lamek Mwakio and Luca Musembu. Joan Cherop, Rose Mthei, Irene Mkungo, Neema Matunda, Jeniffer Mutheu and Eunice Koronge will be the women’s team.
Moris Munene, John Muiruri, Alexander Njai, Simon Kiruthi, Julius Tanui and Martin Mumo will be competing for Eastern Region men team while Mary Munanu, Caren Cheptoek, Vivian Chepkurui, Margaret Muriuki, Grace Erian and Janet Ruguru will be the women’s team.
John Mwangi, Charles Kamau, Adan Galgalo, Mohammed Abdirazak, Ali Adow and Hussein Ibrahim will be wearing colours for North Eastern Region with Hanah Wanjiru and Gladys Chepkirui taking part in the women’s team.
NYS, Universities and KWS will also be taking part in the championships.
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