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Thrills, spills mark rush for Russia

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WOMEN-STEEPLENAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 13- Thrills and spills marked the Kenyan Trials for the Moscow World Championships held on Saturday in Nairobi as the country’s best in track and field gathered to contest places in the squad.

Action got underway with the women 10,000m where Gladys Cherono (33:43.03), the double African champion put together a well-timed victory over World Cross titleholder, Emily Chebet (33:43.78) and Japan based Sally Kaptich Chepyego (33:45.81) in second and third as they joined her in the national squad.

The 2009 world champion, Linet Masai (34:10.02) finished sixth to end her Worlds interest.

The corresponding men’s race witnessed fast finishing Japan based duo; Bedan Karoki (27:31.61) and Paul Tanui (27:32.76) clinch the automatic slots as African champion, Kenneth Kiprop (27:41.28) finished third to be included in the squad.

Running concurrently was the men’s where Julius Yego, in his final throw, brought the stadium to its feet as the watched the Javelin pierce the air to land at 82.09m that bettered his previous African record of 81.81m.

Yego, who made history as the first African athlete to contest the Olympics men Javelin final last year in London will however, not travel to Europe as earlier planned.

“I have personal issues at home I need to address but the remaining time is enough to improve on what I did today,” he disclosed.

Former two-time World Junior champion, Mercy Cherono (15:58.39) prevailed over Viola Kibiwott (15:59.90) and Margaret Muriuki (16:01.88) in the chase for the podium as the trio earned their tickets.
“I’m so thrilled that all the training under my coach Claudio (Berardelli) is paying off. I’m now more comfortable running as a senior and I’m looking forward to improving even more in Russia,” Cherono stated.

Despite qualifying as a Diamond League winner, Isaiah Kiplangat Koech (13:35.12) topped the men’s race ahead of Olympics bronze winners, Thomas Longosiwa (London) and Edwin Soi (Beijing) who clocked 13:36.82 and 13:39.49 respectively.

Fourth finisher and 2006 Commonwealth champion, Augustine Choge (13:41.59) was bypassed by the panel of selectors who gave the fourth slot to former World Junior silver winner, John Kipkoech (13:44.13) who was fifth.

The 1500m finals witnessed saw the closest of finishes with World Indoor champion, Helen Obiri (4:06.91) just fending off the surging national record holder and world junior titleholder, Faith Chepng’etich (4:07.00) and Beijing 2008 gold winner, Nancy Jebet Langat (4:07.23) but all earned selection.

The men’s race was a spectacle to behold with the winner, Silas Kiplagat (3:33.70), the Daegu silver medallist, runner-up and defending Worlds champion; Asbel Kiprop (3:33.80) and their London 2012 team mate, Nixon Chepseba (3:33.90) held hands to cross the line once they had shaken off the rest of the field over the final 400m.

They will be joined by, Bethwell Birgen (3:34.20) who finished fourth in Moscow.

World junior titleholder, Conseslus Kipruto (8:13.50) and Diamond League titleholder, Milcah Chemos (9:38.60) won the men and women steeple races with Olympics and World gold winner, Ezekiel Kemboi (8:26.70), already assured of his berth finishing sixth.

He however, attracted cheers when he kept on sending signals to the crowd that they would see him in Moscow, not here.

Paul Kipsiele Koech (8:53.30), the Diamond League champion finished 12th but was handed outside selection with Olympics bronze winner, Abel Mutai (8:14.00), who was second also in the team.

Eunice Sum (1:59.30) prevailed over 2007 champion, Janeth Jepkosgei (1:59.70) in the women 800m in a tight finish with Winny Chebet (2:00.0) who came third joining them in the team.

Olympics finalist, Anthony Chemut won the men’s race in 1:44.33 to lead surprise packages in runner-up Ferguson Rotich (1:44.38) and third placed Jeremiah Mutai (1:44.39) to Moscow as Olympics bronze winner, Timothy Kitum (1:46.24) who was seventh crashed out.

The Moscow line-up will also include sprinters Mike Mokamba (20.86) and Maureen Jelagat (51.63) who won the men 200m and women 400m races.

AK also selected a five-man men’s 4X400m relay team led by former World Youth 400m silver winner, Alphas Kishoiyan, who won the men’s lap race in 45.76.

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