ELDORET, May 23- Two-time world champion, Asbel Kiprop was a no show with upcoming athletes taking their chance to shine on Saturday as the final 2015 Athletics Kenya Track and Field Series meeting concluded in a jam-packed Dr. Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret.
Kiprop, the 2008 Olympics champion, was all the rave of Day 1 on Friday when he dropped a new stadium record in the heats, stopping the clock at a commendable 3:36.06 in the heats but with the IAAF Ostrava World Challenge and Diamond League Eugene meetings next week, he was among a slew of stars who gave the domestic showdown the miss.
Others such as Commonwealth champion, Mercy Cherono and World Cross titleholder, Agnes Tirop simply eased off the gas to allow upstarts to have their name in the lights as the self styled athletics capital of Kenya revelled in the first public tartan track outside Nairobi in the newly refurbished stadium.
Bahamas World Relays Distance Medley silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot, who was second fastest in the men 1500m heats stepped up to take the glory in the final that lived up to the ranking order from Friday.
Abednego Chesebe (3:41.9), and Mark Bett (3:42.2) took silver and bronze with Mathew Kiptanui (3:43.2), Hosea Cherongei (3:44.0) and Robert Kapting’ei (3:44.0) sealing the top six in that order.
“I am happy with victory since I was not expecting it. I shall work hard to maintain the performance,” Cheruiyot who is off to Eugene, Oregon to reacquaint himself with America’s rising mid distance sensation, Ben Blankenship who anchored his team to gold in Bahamas told.
The return of forgotten star, the past World Junior and All African Games (African Games) gold medallist, Willy Komen, from long term Achilles injury ended with silver in his 3000m steeplechase speciality behind newcomer Felix Kerong who was the commanding victor with 8:37.2 on the clock against the bridesmaid’s 8:40.5.
Patrick Churus stopped the timer in 8:41.9 well adrift to close the podium.
Elijah Kipchirchir motored to an impressive 13:51.8 for victory in the 5000m, considering the punishing elevation of Eldoret to run the rule over more illustrious challengers who were led home by Peter Lagat who posted 13:57.2 as Kipng’etich Rono took silver in 13:57.2.
Willy Kwemoi (14:04.8) led Bernard Korir (14:10.6) across the line to complete the top-five.
Former World Youth silver medallist and fourth finisher at last year’s World Juniors, Alex Sampao, completed a 47.01victory in 400m to force 2010 Commonwealth champion, Mark Mutai who returned 47.81 and seasoned Kenya Prisons veteran, Thomas Musembi (48.68) to the minor podium places.
Veteran multiple national silver medallist, Erick Shikuku carried the 10,000m Race walking title in 46:19.5 ahead of Simion Musangu (48:11.0) as Jacob Mutai (1:03:30.7) appeared from the distance to take bronze, five minutes ahead of Hezron Mungai in fourth.
In the highlight race of the day, the capacity crowd celebrated surprise package Nancy Chepkemoi who won the star-studded 1500m women’s race in 4:06.5 ahead of Cherono (4:07.2) and Doha Diamond League shock women 3000m steeple winner, Virginia Nyambura (4:12.4) in the bronze position.
Jebet who won the senior women 8km global title at the Guiyang World Cross last March came home in 4:20.1 to place just outside the medals.
Africa Youth 2000 metres steeplechase titleholder Sandra Chebet led twin sister- Emily Chebet another junior continental champion- to the 1-2 in the women 10000m where the clocks returned 34:51.6 against 34:53.3.
Seasoned Lucy Cheruiyot (35:57.1), Beatrice Cherop (36:41.4) and Salome Chepchumba (37:00.4) crossed the line in that order to populate the top-five.
Priscilla Tabunda (62.6), Caroline Mwende (64.9), Tabitha Mwalili (65.4) and Agnes Kangogo (66.4) claimed the top places in 400m.