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Athletes battle for national honours

NAIROBI, June 25 – Teenage sensation Pamela Jelimo will be the main attraction at the national athletics championships at Nyayo national stadium which starts on Thursday.

The Africa 800 metres champion will compete in the women’s 400 metres race to build on her speed ahead of the trials which are set for July 4-5 at the same venue.

The 19 year old has been in great form this year dipping under two minutes four times. She is also on course for a share of the IAAF $1million dollar golden jackpot after winning in Oslo and Berlin.

Jelimo will then team up with archrival Janeth Jepkosgei to run in the 4×400 metres relay for the Kenya Police team.

World 5,000 metres bronze medallist Sylvia Kibet will compete in the women’s 1500 metres race. She will however have to contend with a quality field that includes; Margaret Wangare, Irene Jelagat and Nancy Jebet and Charity Wandia.

All African games 1500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop will compete in 800 metres race as he continues to work on his speed ahead of the Olympics.

In the men’s 1500 metres, World Youth Champion Frederick Musyoki will gauge his preparedness for the up coming World Junior championships in the three and three quarter lap race.

Competing against an experienced field in the form of World 1500metres bronze medallist Shedrack Kibet Korir, World junior champion Remmy Limo, Suleiman Simotwo and Abraham Chebii, the 17 year old will have his work cut out.

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In the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, veteran Irene Limika will be hoping to put a good show ahead of next weekend’s trials.

Her toughest opposition will be from World Junior and Youth champion Caroline Chepkirui Tuigong who will be looking to make up for missing out on a place in the Poland bound squad.

In the women’s 100 metres, 17 year old Nerica Kuguru will be hoping to emulate former national champion and hockey team captain Hellen Chemtai.

Kuguru, who was voted the second best most promising sportswoman of the year earlier this year, made history by being called up to the national hockey team at a tender age of 16.

Meanwhile Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said Wednesday that the association had changed the format of selecting participants to increase level of competition in the three day event.

“We have given quotas to each affiliate. The quotas are determined by the number of athletes who have attained qualification times and the number of finalists each province entered in last year’s event,” said Kiplagat.

He added that the overall winning team will be determined by the number of medals won as opposed to points as was the case before.

“We are changing it to become more modern and that is why we shall consider the gold silver and bronze winners. So whichever team will have the most medals will be the winner at the end of the day,” he added.

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