NAIROBI, June 27 – Former World Cross Country short course champion Edith Masai edged out World marathon champion Catherine Ndereba to win the 10,000 metres national crown in day two of the National Athletics Championships on Friday.,
Young upcoming athletes were relegated to spectators as the veterans rolled back the years in a thrilling tussle with 41 year old Masai prevailing in 32.29.1. Thirty five year old Ndereba crossed the tape 0.5 seconds later to finish a truly astounding battle at Nyayo national stadium.
Rita Busienei of Administration Police was third in 33:31.0 with Elizabeth Rumokol of North Rift came in fourth in 33:33.7. Pauline Wangui of Prisons rounded up the top five posting a time of 33:42.0.
Ndereba is using the championships as part of her build up for Beijing Olympics where she will run in the marathon.
Africa Heptathlon silver medallist Florence Wasike successfully defended her long jump crown. The 28 year old Prisons officer jumped 5.87 metres to win. She also qualified to the finals of the women’s 100 metres hurdles and 400 metres hurdles.
She will also compete in the 4×400 metres relay for Prisons where she will team up with Annet Mwanzi and Elizabeth Muthoka. The Kenya Police team that featured Pamela Jelimo and World 800 metres champion Janeth Jelimo also qualified for what promises to be quite a showdown on Saturday.
In the men’s 800 metres, All Africa Games Champion Asbel Kiprop, Edwin Leting and Jackson Kivuva all negotiated their way to the final where they will face off on Saturday.
The three day meet enters its final on Saturday with several finals set up.
In the men’s 1500 metres heats, 2007 World bronze medallist Shedrack Kibet Korir will be up against Abraham Chebii and Geoffrey Rono in the final.
National cross country 12k champion Mark Kiptoo will be favourite in the men’s 5,000 metres after winning his heat.
The 32 year old who was the captain at this year’s World Cross Country championships took to the front with two laps to go before pulling away to win in 13:43.97.
President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga re expected to grace the occasion.
The championships will then pave way for the national athletics trials which are scheduled for July 4th and 5th to select the national team which will compete at the Olympics in August.