Chepng’etich rallies Team Kenya for Kampala duty


Two-time World Cross junior champion, Faith Chepng’etich leads Lilian Kasait (centre) and Alice Aprot ...
Two-time World Cross junior champion, Faith Chepng’etich leads Lilian Kasait (centre) and Alice Aprot during the senior women 10km race at the 2017 National Cross Country Championships at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi on February 18, 2017. The trio made the senior women squad for the 2017 IAAF World Cross in Kampala. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com

Two-time World Cross junior champion, Faith Chepng’etich who is eyeing her first senior title in Kampala later this month says it’s a race against time for Team Kenya to get in shape for an assault at all available top medals in Uganda.

Chepng’etich who is also the women 1500m Olympics champion returns to the World Cross after missing the previous edition in Guiyang, China two years ago after being forced out of the team by injury.

Speaking at the team’s camp at St. Mark’s Teachers Training College, Kigari in Embu some 200km from the capital Nairobi, Chepng’etich who is the 2014 African Cross senior champion emphasized the need to forge a collective approach to the biennial global showpiece.

“I know they’re a strong opposition so the focus is to ensure we utilize the time we have left to prepare sufficiently.

“To guarantee our success, we have to keep working hard and supporting each other as a team,” Chepng’etich rallied.

Team captain and Edinburgh 2008 World Cross senior men silver medallist, Leonard Patrick Komon talked of the threat to their ambitions to Kenyan born athletes who will running in the colours of other nations including USA, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey and Canada.

However, Komon who is also the world record holder over 10K and 15K road races believes the depth of talent in the Kenyan team is capable of upstaging their former compatriots and other strong challengers including archrivals Ethiopia, hosts Uganda, Eritrea and Japan.

“It’s not the first time we’ll be facing competitors who were once our teammates and some of them I’ve know them since I was a junior.

“What they need to know is we’re going to Kampala to win. We have two weeks left to prepare and that’s all we need,” Komon who was fourth as a junior at the 2007 World Cross in Mombasa stressed.

Team Kenya coach, Juma Ndiwa who is on his first assignment as the technical leader of the team that has won the overall title at four of the past five editions of the World Cross reiterated the class of 2017 can sweep all medals.

“There are very many good Kenyan athletes yet slots into the national team are limited. According to my assessment of the team at my disposal, I know we’re a good side and our opponents will know that,” Ndiwa added.

Kenya boasts of the defending senior men and women champions in Geoffrey Kamworor and Agnes Tirop, African senior women champion, Alice Aprot, former Olympics and World Cross junior men gold medallist, Asbel Kiprop as well as Lilian Kasait and Leonard Barsoton who won the women and men long races at the Trials in  Nairobi.

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Story By Anthony Ndwiga
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