Obiri, Kirui clinch National Cross Country titles


Hellen Obiri wins the senior women race during the National cross country championships cum trials ...
Hellen Obiri wins the senior women race during the National cross country championships cum trials for World cross country championships at Eldoret sports club on February 23, 2019. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

In Summary

  • World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri punched her ticket to the World Cross Country Championships as she tore the field to win the national event cum trials on Saturday
  • The Olympic silver medalist put on a stunning performance at the Eldoret Sports Club to claim victory ahead of Beatrice Mutai and World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech

World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Amos Kirui from Central Rift emerged winners of the National Cross Country Championship held Saturday at the Eldoret Sports Club.

Obiri who was making her maiden appearance in the championships showed class when he opened a gap of approximately 50m to clock 33:14.9 ahead of Beatrice Mutai of South Rift who finished second in 33:24.3 as the World 3000m Steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Police finished third in 33:54.7.

The Commonwealth Champion pulled away from the leading pack in the third lap and never looked back again as she also earned a ticket to represent Kenya in World Cross to be held in Aarhus, Denmark.

“I was confident heading to those race and I just ran my race. Of course I am excited since I am going to compete in my maiden World Cross, “said Obiri.

On her part Mutai who was the winner at the Discovery Kenya Cross Country a month ago in the same venue said she was confident of making the cut.

“I had prepared well for the race thus I was confident and I think a second place finish is good for me. I am also going to intensify my training ahead of the World Cross,” said Mutai.

Kamworor Stunned

Meanwhile in the senior men category, Kirui became an unlikely hero when he clocked 29:50.5 ahead of Evans Keitany of Central Rift (29:57.4) and Rodgers Kwemoi of North Rift (29:59.3) who finished second and third respectively.

Kirui said he was confident of making the team for the World Cross.

“I was confident of making it and now that I have earned a ticket in team Kenya I will make sure that I bring home any medal. I did not fear anybody entering into this race, I know Kamworor he has been a mentor to me but I was also prepared for the race,” said Kirui.

Pre-race favourite and defending champion Geoffrey Kamwworor finished fifth in 30:03.9 while the World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto settled for the last ticket to Denmark as he clocked 30:08.1.

Samuel Chebole from North Rift clocked 24:09.8 to win the 8km U-20 boys race after out sprinting Emmanuel kiprotich 20:17.9 as Leonard Kipkemoi Bett completed the podium in 24:25.0.

In the 6km junior women race, World Under-20 5000m champion Beatrice Chebet of South Rift clocked 20:02.4 to emerge the winner ahead of Betty Jepkemboi of Central Rifft 20:31.2 while Jackline Rotich also from South Rift finished third in 20:39.9.

In the mixed relays race, Kenya Police team out sprinted KDF to clinch the title.

Leading Results

6km Junior Women

1 Beatrice Chebet 20:02.4
2 Betty Jepkemboi 20:31.2
3 Jackline Rotich 20:39.9
4 Agnes Mwikali 20:42.4
5 Lydia Jeruto 20:44.2
6 Mercy Chepkorir 20:46.6

8km Junior Men
1 Samuel Chebole 24:09.8
2 Emmanuel Kiprotich 24:17.9
3 Leonard Bett 24:25.0
4 Edwin Koskey 24:26.0
5 charles Karuri 24:31.2
6.Kibet Kandie 24:34.3

10km Senior Women
1 Hellen Obiri 33:14.9
2 Beatrice Mutai 33:24.3
3 Beatrice Chepkoech 33:54.7
4 Deborah Samum 34:06.4
5 Eva Cherono 34:09.9
6 Lilian Kasait 34:14.3

10km Senior Men
1 Amos Kirui 29:50.5
2 Evans Keitany 29:57.4
3 Rodgers Keitany 29:59.3
4 Richard Kimunyan 30:00.1
5 Geoffrey Kamworor 30:03.9
6 Rhonex Kipruto 30:08.1

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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