Top athletes grace World Championships trials
Top Kenyan athletes graced the first day of the trails for the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London slated for August 4th to 13th.
Former World Cross Champion Agnes Jebet Tirop and Cyrus Ruto were the first to book their places in Team Kenya during the 10,000m and the 5,000m finals on Friday at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi County.
Jebet who was competing on the track for the first time, crossed the finish line in 31:56.00 for the top podium place followed closely by World Cross Champion Irene Cheptai who stopped the timer at 31:56.04 for second place.
Olympian and African Champion Alice Aprot completed the podium finishes in 32:16.07 to seal the three available slots for the women’s 10,000m event.
With four laps to go, Cheptai was leading Jebet and Aprot at a comfortable pace as they broke off from the chasing pack.
Jebet pulled a fast one on Cheptai with two laps to go to lead all the way to the end.
“During the World Cross Country Championships I was not in shape but I have prepared well for London. I don’t know what to expect there but I’m targeting a podium finish. Vivian Cheruiyot will not be there but I hope that we shall approach the race as a team if we want to defeat the Ethiopians, ” said Jebet.
Having learnt his lesson from last year’s Rio Olympics Games trials at the Kipchoge Keino stadium in Uasin Gishu County, Cyrus Rutto was a man on a mission on Friday at the Nyayo Stadium.
Rutto was dropped from Team Kenya for the Summer Games to give room to more experienced athletes, yet the country had no athlete at the 5,000m finals.
Rutto ensured that the selectors will have no reasons to drop him after winning the 5,000m finals.
“I finished third during the Olympics trials but I was told I’m not experienced enough for such competitions.
“I felt bad and when I came here, I not only wanted to make it to the team but also finish as number one. There’s nothing like experience. I believe if I was at the Games I would have made it to the finals,” said Ruto with a smile.
Ruto who was inspired by Olympics Games and two-time London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge added that he is ready for the international showpiece.
The 25-year-old Rutto timed 13:31.7 for first place as former African Junior silver medalist Davis Kiplagat settled for second place in 13.31.7 with a small margin.
Josephat Kiprono also made it to the team after third place finisher Geoffrey Koech (13:33.09) was disqualified for pushing and tripping other runners on the track.
Kiprono was elevated to third place after finishing fourth in 13:35.3. Last year, he also failed to make it for the Olympics team and was all smiles after the highly competitive race.
World 5,000m silver medalist Caleb Mwangangi missed the trials due to a persistent injury and will shift his focus to the Diamond League races.
On Saturday, Rio Olympics and two-time World Champion Conseslus Kipruto, Beijing Olympics and Osaka World Champion Brimin Kipruto and Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medalist Jairus Birech will sweat it out at the 3,000m steeplechase finals.
The three hope to have a repeat of the Beijing World Championships perfomance where they had a podium sweep led by Two time Olympics and four time World Champion Ezekiel Kemboi.
“I believe that this is my time to harvest a world title. I finished fourth in Beijing. Have tested my training twice at the Diamond League and everything looks positive,” said Birech. World champion Ezekiel Kemboi will watch the events unfold from the terraces. He already qualified for the event as a defending champion.
On the last day of the trials, some exciting finals to look out for include the men 10,000m, women 5,000m and 1,500m men and women events.
Olympian and former World Junior Champion Alfred Kipketer will battle it out against recently crowned Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich and Job Kinyor in the men’s 800m event.
Day 1 Finals
1.Cyrus Ruto 13:31.05
2.Davis Kiplangat 13:31.7
3. Josephat Kiprono 13:35.3
4. Bethwel Birigen 13:36.4
5. Frankline Ng’elel 13:37.2
1.Agnes Tirop 31:56.00
2.Irene Cheptai 31:56.04
3.Alice Aprot 32:16.07
4. Veronica Nyaruai 32:34.6
5. Doricah Kerubo 33:04.8
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