Athletics Kenya (AK) South Rift has picked a provisional squad of 60 athletes that will proceed to camp ahead of the World Athletics Under-20 Championships national trials scheduled for July 17 to 12 in Nairobi.
The selection was done during thrilling pre-trials held at Kericho Green Stadium at the weekend.
Faith Cherotich and Ronald Kipng’etich from Kipkelion, who destroyed their rivals to win their respective 3,000 metres steeplechase races were among the athletes selected for the national trials.
Benson Kiplang’at from Nakuru and Bomet’s Ezra Kiplang’at reigned supreme in men’s 5,000m’s first and second heats, respectively, with the best times.
They made the South Rift team alongside women’s 5,000m winner Mercy Chepkemoi from Nakuru.
Nakuru’s Bernard Yegon and Isca Chelangat from Kipkelion, who starred in men’s and women’s 3,000m races, respectively, also got the nod alongside 800m winners Everline Chepkoech and Daniel Kiplagat.
AK South Rift Chairman John Wachira named Charles Ngao as the team’s head coach while Gideon Lang’at will be the manager and Lilian Chumo is the chaperone.
“The team will proceed to residential camp training in one week’s time,” said Wachira.” We will in due course come with the dates and name more technical officials to handle the team.”
The pre-trials were attended by AK President Jack Tuwei, Ministry of Sports Chief of Staff Rose Wachuka and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) acting Secretary General Francis Mutuku.
Bid to represent Kenya
Kipng’etich, the 2018 Africa Under-18 2,000m steeplechase bronze medallist, clocked 8:50.57 seconds to win men’s steeplechase, beating Bomet rivals Kibet Chepkwony and Simon Kiprop in 8:53.90 and 8:59.24, respectively.
“I am focused on winning at the trials to represent Kenya again at the junior level before scaling to the senior ranks next year,” said Kipngétich.
Cherotich, a Form One student at Sugutek Secondary School, Kipkelion, Kericho County, was home and dry in 11: 09.22 to rule in women’s steeplechase as athletes from Kipkelion claimed the top four spots.
Cherotich edged out Diana Chepkemoi and Triza Cherotich to second and third places in 11:57.69 and 12:12.98, respectively, as Sharon Chepkemoi wound up in fourth place after clocking 12:20.35.
“It was a good race for me, but I still need to polish my speed and techniques over the water barrier,” said Cherotich.
“I want to emulate my role model world 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.” Chepkoech holds the world record of 8:22.92.
Benson posted the first time in men’s 5,000m, winning in 13:56.2 while Ezra returned the second fastest over the distance to reign supreme in the second heat in 14:02.5.
Benson edged out Shadrack Rono and Kevin Kiprotich, all from Bomet in 14:19.9 and 14:25.6 respectively, while Ezra saw off Evans Cheruiyot of Kipkelion who timed 14:20.1 for second place followed by teammate Emmanuel Kipyegon 14:27.1.
Yegon proved untouchable in 3,000m, clocking 8:04.83 to win the race. Chelangat’s 9:23.4 handed her victory in women’s 3,000m, she swept aside Faith Chebet from Nakuru and compatriot’s Naomy Chepkoech in 9:23.7 and 9:24.4, respectively.