Tanki, Mbithe win at Machakos XC meet


Julius Tanki celebrates winning the Machakos Cross Country meet. (PHOTO/Courtesy)
Julius Tanki celebrates winning the Machakos Cross Country meet. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • Julius Tanki and Winfred Mbithe reigned supreme at the first 2018/2019 Athletics Kenya (AK) Cross Country Series which returned on Saturday at the Machakos Teachers Training College
  • Tanki of Bomet County crossed the finish line in 30:26 to win the 10KM senior men's race with Ruben Korir coming second with a time of 31:10 as Isaac Yego followed closely in 31:13

Julius Tanki and Winfred Mbithe reigned supreme at the first 2018/2019 Athletics Kenya (AK) Cross Country Series which returned on Saturday at the Machakos Teachers Training College.

Tanki of Bomet County crossed the finish line in 30:26 to win the 10KM senior men’s race with Ruben Korir coming second with a time of 31:10 as Isaac Yego followed closely in 31:13.

Tanki, who claimed the runners up position in the Isaiah Kiplagat Memorial Ndalat Gaa Cross Country last month, revealed his target is to represent Kenya in the 2019 World Cross Country championships that will be held in Denmark.

The 18-year-old is also targeting the 2020 0lympic Games to be held in Tokyo Japan with 5000m his main target in the coveted championship.

“I want to take this weekend meets very serious because I want to be prepared well for my next year’s international debut and World Cross country and Olympics remain my main target,” Tanki said.

In the Senior Women race, Mbithe, the last year’s World Cross Country champion in mixed relays was awarded as the winner of the 10km despite not running the full race following confusion from the official who signaled her to end the race with two kilometers remaining.

The 2018 Africa Cross country silver medalist was leading the race from the start but towards the ninth round, there was a ‘poor’ communication from an AK communication hence the latter finishing before the correct timings.

However, Mary Nyaruai who had crossed the finishing line in a time of 36:07 relinquished the first position for Mbithe with Mary Njau settling for the third position with a time of 36:26.

“This was not my mistake because the official rang the bell and told me to end the race but of course could have still won. I did not feel good because I wanted to win fairly but Nyaruai agreed with her coach that she pick position two,” the Makueni County star told.

In the corresponding junior women race, Emmaculate Anyango strolled to victory in the 6km race in a time of 20:59 as Margret Akidor came in second clocking 21:12 while Desma Chepkoech finished third in a time of 21:18.

In junior men category, 3000 Steeplechase U-18 World champion Leonard Kipkemoi ran the show in the 8km junior race cutting the tape in 23:50 ahead of this year’s Youth Olympic gold medalist Jackosn Muema Kavesa who clocked 23:54 followed by Edwin Kiplangat who was timed 24:07.

In the mixed relays, Mbithe led the Administration Police athletes to bag the first position in timing of 24:55:57 followed closely by Margret Akidor who finished second in timings of 24:59 to claim the runners up position.

Among the guests who graced the event, was the London Marathon champion and this year’s New York Silver medalist Vivian Cheruiyot who urged athletes to keep off doping while also thanking AK for incorporating anti-doping awareness in every Series.

“I want to tell the young athletes to run clean and be patient and the success will come on their way,” soft-spoken Cheruiyot averred.

After Machakos, Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County, will stage the second leg on December 1 with Nandi and Kisii penciled to host the third and fourth legs of the Series on December 15 and January 4 respectively.

The final cross country series will pave way for the national trials for the World Cross Country Championships set for February 2 at Eldoret Sports Club.

Eldoret’s event that will double up for the National Cross Country Championships will see a team being picked for World Cross Country Championships set for March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.

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