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Korir, Chelanga lock Prisons titles

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3- Isaac Korir and Faridah Chelanga helped themselves to the men 10000m and women 5000m titles on Day 1 of the Inter-Provincial Prisons Championships at Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday.

Commonwealth men 1500m champion Silas Kiplagat sparkled after stepping down to the 800m event by running the fastest time of the day in the heats on a wet track as heavy rains peppered the afternoon session of the meet.

Thomas Longosiwa, who placed sixth over 10000m at the Daegu World Championships also qualified for Friday’s finals after he also went down to feature in the 1500m race.

In the first track final of the day, Korir upset last year’s Africa Cross Country champion and Prisons titleholder John Mwangangi after motoring away from the challengers to stop the clock in 28:25.2.

The winner detached from the lead pack of five with three laps to go and went on building the gap such that Mwangangi crossed the line 22 seconds adrift in 28:47.5 as Charles Cheruiyot came through with 28:51.1 on the timer to take bronze.

In the women’s 5000m decider, a close affair panned out as Kaptagat based Chelanga, Jane Mwikali and Margaret Waithera came to the bell with nothing more than a stride separating the trio who had broken away from the assembled starters four laps into the race.

Waithera tried to push for the victory at the back straight before Mwikali hit the front with 200m to go but just before the homestretch, Chelanga hit the front and other than a meek attempt at a response from the latter, she sealed the race in 16:10.0.

“The weather here was not good today but my hope is to be competitive at the finals. The 5000m race has so many strong runners but I dream of the Olympics and this can come true is I train hard,” the winner said after the race.

Mwikali took silver in 16:12.3 as Waithera finished third in 16:18.0 well ahead of fourth placed Nancy Kimaiyo (16:26.3) who led the chasing pack to the finish.

The men 1500m heats were eagerly anticipated due to the presence of the Commonwealth titleholder and Worlds silver medallist, Kiplagat but when word went round he would feature in the shorter 800m, Longosiwa stepped to the stage.

Running in heat two, the Beijing Olympics 5000m 12th finisher came home in second to qualify for the final.

Kiplagat then donned his spikes for the third 800m heat in pouring rain before turning the race to a one man show when he powered away just after the bell to win in 1:47.1, the fastest time of the day.

Elsewhere, multiple champion Cecilia Kiplagat won the women’s Discus in 39.42m ahead of Mary Jerotich (39.18m) and Susan Kobiret (33.92m) while Anne Rose Nyambura took the honours in the women High jump with a leap of 1.50m.

Eric Malemo helped himself to the men Shot putt title with a best effort of 14.19m.

The event concludes Friday with Race walking finals starting the programme.

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