Kenya will send a provisional team of 49 athletes to the 2013 IAAF World Championships after the conclusion of the national trials in Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium, where javelin thrower Julius Yego stole the show with a national record of 82.09m on Saturday (13).
In a country famed for its prowess at distance running, Yego usurped a cast of Olympic, World, Commonwealth and continental champions.
Gladys Cherono, the 2012 double African champion, got affairs underway with a well-timed victory in the women’s 10,000m, the opening event of the day, with a win in 33:43.03.
This year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships winner Emily Chebet was a close second in 33:43.78 and Japan-based Sally Kaptich Chepyego took third in 33:45.81 to join her in the national squad, as the 2009 World champion, Linet Masai, finished a distant sixth in 34:10.02.
The corresponding men’s race witnessed fast finishing from a pair of Japan-based runners. Bedan Karoki won in 27:31.61 with Paul Tanui second in 27:32.76 to clinch the automatic slots while African champion Kenneth Kiprop took third in 27:41.28 and was included in the squad.
Running concurrently with the 10,000m races was the men’s Javelin where London 2012 Olympic Games finalist Yego, with his final throw, brought the spectators to their feet as they watched the Javelin fly through the air to land at 82.09m, a distance that bettered his previous Kenyan record of 81.81m.
Two-time World junior champion Mercy Cherono won the 5000m in 15:58.39 and prevailed over Viola Kibiwott, who was second in 15:59.90 with Margaret Muriuki third in 16:01.88.
Despite already having qualified for a wild card entry for Moscow as the 2012 Diamond Race winner, Isaiah Koech decided to battle for the honours in the 5000m and won in 13:35.12. Olympic bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa and Edwin Soi clocked 13:36.82 and 13:39.49 for second and third respectively.
2006 Commonwealth champion Augustine Choge, who finished fourth in 13:41.59, was overlooked by the panel of selectors, who gave the final berth for Moscow to the fifth-place finisher and former IAAF World Junior Championships silver medallist John Kipkoech, who crossed the line in 13:44.13.
Both 1500m races saw closes finishes with World indoor champion Hellen Obiri winning in 4:06.91 and just holding off national record-holder Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon, who was second with 4:07.00, while the Beijing 2008 gold medallist Nancy Jebet Langat was third with 4:07.23 and earned selection.
Kiplagat turns the tables on Kiprop
The men’s race was a spectacle to behold with World silver medallist Silas Kiplagat taking the plaudits in 3:33.70 ahead of World champion Asbel Kiprop, who was second in 3:33.80. Nixon Chepseba was third in 3:33.90. With Kiprop qualifying automatically, they will be joined in the team by the fourth-place finisher Bethwell Birgen, who clocked 3:34.20.
Conseslus Kipruto and Milcah Chemos won the Steeplechase titles in 8:13.50 and 9:38.60 respectively.
In the men’s event, the defending Olympic and World champion Ezekiel Kemboi didn’t exert himself excessively and finished sixth in 8:26.70, having already been assured of his berth.
Paul Kipsiele Koech, the 2012 Diamond League winner, finished 12th but was selected along with with 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Abel Mutai, who was second behind Kipruto in 8:14.00.
Eunice Sum won the women’s 800m in 1:59.30, beating 2007 World champion Janeth Jepkosgei, who clocked 1:59.70. Winny Chebet, who came third, will join them on the team.
Anthony Chemut won the men’s 800m in 1:44.33 to just edge out Ferguson Rotich, who clocked 1:44.38. Jeremiah Mutai, the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships 400m Hurdles silver medallist but now a confirmed runner over two laps of the track, finished third in 1:44.39, the second best time of his career, and was given the nod over Olympic bronze medallist Timothy Kitum who could only finish seventh.
Sprinters Mike Mokamba, who took the 200m in 20.86, and Maureen Jelagat, the 400m winner in 51.63, were included in the team as well as a men’s relay squad led by 2011 World Youth Championships 400m silver medallist Alphas Kishoiyan.
The team will now assemble for a two-week residential training on Wednesday.
The earlier announced marathon team is already training in Iten and will link up with the rest of the squad before the 5 August departure.
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF
Kenyan team for the 2013 IAAF World Championships
200m: Mike Mokamba
800m: Anthony Chemut, Ferguson Rotich, Jeremiah Mutai, David Rudisha
1500m: Silas Kiplagat, Asbel Kiprop, Nixon Chepseba, Bethwell Birgen
5000m: Isaiah Koech, Thomas Longosiwa, Edwin Soi, John Kipkoech
10,000m: Bedan Karoki, Paul Tanui, Kenneth Kiprop
3000m Steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Abel Kiprop, Ezekiel Kemboi, Paul Kipsiele Koech
4x400m Relay: Alphas Kishoiyan, Moses Kertich, Boniface Mweresa, Mike Mokamba, Vincent Koskei
Marathon: Bernard Koech, Bernard Kipyego, Mike Kipyego, Peter Some, Nicholas Kipkemboi.
Javelin: Julius Yego
400m: Maureen Jelagat
800m: Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei, Winny Chebet
1500m: Hellen Obiri, Faith Kipyegon, Nancy Langat
5000m: Mercy Cherono, Viola Kibiwott, Margaret Wangare
10,000m: Gladys Cherono, Emily Chebet, Sally Kaptich Chepyego
3000m Steeplechase: Milcah Chemos, Lydia Chebet Rotich, Hyvin Kiyeng, Lydia Chepkurui
Marathon: Lucy Kabuu, Edna Kiplagat, Agnes Barsosio, Margaret Akai, Eunice Kirwa