Cross-country competitions will be taking a decisive turn this week when two of the sixteen Athletics Kenya branches run their national championships in Thika and in Nairobi to kick-start competition proper.
There will be no love lost when career military and police officers put their ranks on the line and lock horns as they represent their affiliated units during the Kenya Defense Forces and Kenya National Police Cross Country Championships on Friday and Saturday.
World cross-country champion Geoffrey Kamworor is set to renew his rivalry with two-times national champion Bedan Karoki while keen Leonard Barsoton would be waiting for an opportunity to topple the two fighting giants for limelight during the Police championships slated at Ngong Race Course on Saturday.
On the other hand, veteran Mark Kiptoo and Linus Kibwambok Chumba together with static Leonard Oloitiptip would be adding colour in the Kenya Defense Championships that will be starting with a 21Kilometres Road Race in Thika on Friday.
Though the elite athletes would be setting their targets beyond the Africa Cross Country Championships, their participation in the championships is paramount as they select teams for amassing points during the inter-affiliates in Nairobi mid next month.
“Both the KDF and Kenya National Police championships are part of the duties of the athletes and they are required to compete for their units. We shall be seeing the best doing their best,” said Sammy Rono, who is tasked with following up the cross-country running programs.
Of the two disciplines forces, the Police unit is boasting of the top cream of the country’s runners and the championships will herald a mini-trial that would be replayed during the nationals that also would be used for the selection of the team to the 4th Africa Cross-country championships scheduled for Yaounde, Cameroon on March 12th.
Last year, Kamworor beat Mathew Kisorio and Moses Mukono during the Police National Cross Country championships while Stacy Ndiwa and Janet Kisa ganged up to beat on-a- come-back Vivian Cheruiyot in the women race.
With Cheruiyot back to the winning pedals and a World title feather on her cup, it would be interesting to watch who the fastest officers are if the new recruits would leave up to their recruitment.
After the seven-legged cross-country series concluded at Kabianga University last Saturday, focus now revert to the championships proper with the two Athletics Kenya branches kick-starting the grass root competitions.
Other branches to follow include Kenya Prisons Service on January 23rd at Uhuru Gardens, Kenya Universities championships on 30th at Kabarak in Nakuru and the Regional Championships for all regions on 30th January.
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