The future of Sprints is heading for a massive transformation in the near future if what was witnessed at the second round of Athletics Kenya Sprints and Relays series over the weekend is anything to go by.
With focus on the short races, the sprinters upped their individual efforts with 2011 World Youth Silver medalist Alphas Kishoyan and Joyce Zachary, who made it to the Summer Olympics in 2012, striking the desired key in their events.
Fresh from completing his military training and on a come-back from maternity call, the two athletes added gravy to the one-day championship to prove they can be at par with their brothers and sisters in the long and middle distances.
Kishoyan posted 46 seconds and 5 micro-seconds to win the 400metres while recent entrant Francisca Koki required 55.2 seconds to complete the single lap at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani in the women line up.
“We are going for medals in Bahamas. My body is responding well to training and I believe we can do better this time round,” said the Trans-Mara born sprinter after eclipsing a field of over 55 competitors who took part in several final heats.
In 200m, Zachary (Police) had no difficulties in repositioning herself on her return to competitive training. She clocked 24.1 after out-sprinting Eunice Kagogo (Prisons) and Helen Syombua (Southern) who managed 24.8 and 25.3 seconds apart.
KDF’s Mike Mokamba, who has dominated the half lap race for the last 3 years, proved maturity in sprinting ahead of others in 20.8 seconds with close rivals Stephen Barasa of Prisons and John Ngarasi (KDF) completing in 21.5 and 21.5 registered in different heats.
In the 100metres dash, Simon Kimaru of Police Service held his breathe for 10.6 seconds to emerge the winner but tied with Mark Otieno (MSD) who returned the same time in another heat. Individual entrant Brian Gatura was third with 10.7.
On the other hand, athletes eyeing slots in the longer relays continue sharpening up in middle distant events of 800 and 1,500metres.
Former world silver medalist Timothy Kitum (KDF) was given a run for his money when Bernard Kipyego, also running for KDF, led the cast after timing 1:46.1 in his heat. Kitum returned 1:47.5 in heat 4 while Edwin Melly clocked 1:47.6 to round up third in heat 5
In women, Prison’s Silvia Chesebe topped the class. She led with 2:04.2 where Annet Mwanzia and Sheila Chesang finished in 2:05.2 and 2:05.7 in second and third positions.
Upcoming Ronald Kwemoi was the lucky winner of men’s 1,500 metres. He won in 3:41.4. Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi timed 3:42.5 and 3:43.3 to complete the podium. In ladies, Virginia Nyambura, an individual competitor, edged Beatrice Jepkoech and Caroline Jepkemboi for crown. The winner managed a sweatless 4:11.8. Her rivals, all from Kericho, were timed in 4:12.9 and 4:16.0
In the relays proper, Athletics Kenya teams dominated the show with AK‘A’ anchored by Fresha Mwangi winning women’s 4 x 100m in 49.6. Diana Mutswenje groomed AK ‘B’ for second slot after exchanging the silver baton in 49.8. In the men’s replica, Boniface Khagai gave AK ‘A’ a head-start after completing first timing 41.3. Charles Wamwea started for ‘B’ who winded s 2nd in 41.5.
In 4 x 400m, Eglay Nalianya teamed up with Jacinta Shikanda to beat Daisy Komen’s team, resting the baton after 3:46.1 against the opponents’ 3:51.6. Michael Makhanu’s AK ‘A’ clocked 3:12 to take the silverware followed by Joseph Kuria’s team (Balam) from Nyahururu who took 3:14.1 to complete the event.
The 3rd leg is programmed to take place this coming Saturday still in Nairobi. The federation is expecting elite athletes who are still fine-tuning their training for the forthcoming national trials to take part in the remaining leg.
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