Arita, Kimitei to open Kenya’s medal chase in Durban
Stephen Arita and half-marathoner Wilfred Kimitei will open Kenya’s medal hunt at the 20th CAA Africa Senior Championships in Durban, South Africa on Wednesday when they line up for the start of the men 10,000m final.
Kenya Prisons athlete, Kimitei, 31 who ran his 27:54.2 lifetime best when finishing second at the National Championships last month and his Kenya Defence Forces compatriot Arita who clocked his 27:55.17 personal best over 25-laps last year will carry the torch after winner Kenneth Kipkemoi opted out of Durban to focus on the Rio Trials.
The pair will be seeking to succeed Eritrea’s Nguse Amlosom who won the title two years ago in Marrakech, Morocco where Kenya’s Josphat Bett won bronze at the race that starts at 6pm local time (+3GMT).
Kipkemoi was the last Kenyan to be crowned the men 10000m gold winner when he ran the championship record of 27:19.74 at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo, Benin during the 2012 running of the biennial event.
Sprinters Eunice Kadogo and Mike Mokamba will be the first athletes donning the revered red, green and black strip to take to the track in 100m heats seeking places in the semis pegged for later in the day.
Aron Koech, the twin brother of world champion, Nicholas Bett will launch his bid to clinch the continental crown in the afternoon session in the 400m Hurdles alongside Boniface Mucheru, a fifth finisher at the Beijing Worlds and Kiprono Kosgei.
The trio will be gunning to make Thursday’s semis.
The team finally made its belated departure for Durban through Johannesburg on Tuesday morning optimistic the delay will not affect their charge for the medals.
Kenya finished third two years ago with 25 medals (seven gold, eight silver and 10 bronze) behind South Africa and Nigeria and the squad is optimistic of reclaiming the overall crown they last won when the country hosted the 2010 edition in Nairobi.
The first batch took off from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7:55am with the others following suit at 12:55pm after their initial Monday departure was deferred over ticketing and connection issues.
The 74-member squad of 60 athletes and 14 officials has mixed youth and experience with sprinters keen to take advantage of competing at sea level to boost their chances of making Rio Olympic times ahead of next week’s Trials in Eldoret.
“We are sending you to South Africa to represent the country as well as attaining the Olympics qualifying standards for those who have not qualified and those already qualified to re-qualifying ahead of the Olympic trials,” said Athletics Kenya President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei while handing the national flag at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani on Sunday.
Six athletes dropped from the Durban team to prepare for the Olympics trials, which will be held on June 30 and July 1.
All Africa Games Champion Alice Aprot, silver medallist Jackline Chepng’eno and Joyline Jepkosgei will lead the medal hunt in the women’s 10,000m.
Mokamba, Peter Mwai, Gilbert Otieno and Eunice Kadogo, Milicent Ndoro, Freshiak Mwangi and Mary Tanui will lead the Kenyans in the short sprints while Timothy Cheruiyot, Vincent Leting and Judy Kiyeng and Emily Cherotich will compete in the middle distant events alongside others.
In the field, national champion Tera Langat, Elijah Kimitei, Bethwel Langat and Mathew Sawe will roar in the jumps while Rebecca Kerubo, Nelson Yego would be featuring in the Hammer and Javelin throws.
100M- Mike Mokamba. 110m Hurdles- William Mbuvi. 200m- Mike Mokamba, Gilbert Otieno, Peter Mwai. 400m- Alfas Kishoyan, Raymond Kibet, Stanley Kieti, Boniface Mweresa. 400m hurdles- Aaron Koech, Boniface Mucheru, Kiprono Kosgei. 800m- Boaz Kiprugutt. 1,500m- Vincent Leting, Timothy Cheruiyot, Erick Kiptanui. 3,000m S/Chase- Abraham Kibiwott, Phenus Kipleting. 5,000m – Mangata Ndiwa, Peter Lagat. 10,000m- Wilfred Kimitei, Stephen Arita. 20Km Race Walk – Samuel Kireri, Simon Wachira. Javelin- Nelson Yego, Alex Toroitich. Long Jump- Tera Lagat. Triple Jump- Elijah Kimitei. High –Jump – Mathew Sawe.
100M- Eunice Kadogo, Feshiah Mwangi, Zaphania Monica 100m Hurdles- Priscillah Tabunda, Veronica Chebet. 200- Eunice Kadogo, Milicent Ndolo, Mary Tanui. 400m- Hellen Syombua, Margaret Nyairera, Maureen Thomas. 400m Hurdles- Maureen Jelagat, Jane Chege. 800M- Silvia Chesebe, Emily Cherotich. 1,500metres- Judy Kiyeng, Sela Jepleting. 3,000mS/chase- Norah Jeruto, Agnes Chesang. 5,000m- Sheila Jepkirui, Margaret Chelimo, Sheila Chelagat. 10,000metres- Alice Aprot, Jackline Chepng’eno, Joyline Jepkosgei. 20Km Race Walk- Grace Wanjiru, Linda Waweru. Hammer- Rebecca Kerubo, 4×100 Relay Damaris Mbula.
Team Manager- Joseph Kiget, Ass Team Manager Gure Sayid Mohammed, Chaperon Justina Chepchirchir, Coaches -David Kitur, Joseph Ngure, Benjamin Mbusya, Peter Saina, Pascaline Jelagat, Sammy Koskei. Physiotherapist Peter Nduhiu, Sarah Karongo, John Kyui. Team Doctor Japhet Ngundo.
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