NAIROBI, Kenya, February 21 – Renaissance was the theme of the day as Moses Mosop and Florence Kiplagat won the senior men and women cross country titles at the national cross country championships at Ngong racecourse on Saturday.With 24 tickets to Amman up for grabs, the nationals did not disappoint providing their usual quota of drama, upsets thrills and spills as athletes desperately fought for the limited chances.
Making a comeback after a year off due to injury, ‘Engine Kubwa’ as Mosop is popularly known announced his return in style by winning the coveted men’s crown in 38:16.0 ahead of Mathew Kisorio who was second in 38:37.2.
He was simply too good for the rest of the field winning by almost a 100 metre gap. “I have been away for too long and I really wanted to run well today and get in the team for Jordan,” said Mosop.
Kisorio was second after getting huge help from Asbel Kiprop with the early pacemaking while Mark Kiptoo made the team, for the second year running after finishing third. Linus Chumba upset his more illustrious opponents to make the team after finishing fourth as did Mangata Ndiwa who is also making a comeback after a long lay off finishing sixth.
Kiplagat missed the whole of last season due to maternal duties but she showed no ill effects by overcoming her more in form opponents to win the race and reclaim the crown she last won in 2007.
“I have been off season but I really wanted to win today’s race because I am eager to get back to full swing and to be able to compete with the very best. I wasn’t sure I would be among the inform girls but I just gave it my all.”
Kiplagat stayed in touch with pre race favourites Pauline Korikwiang, Lineth Chepkirui, Linet Masai and reigning champion Grace Momanyi for the first two laps before shifting through the gears to win her second national crown.
Iness Chenonge rolled back the years to finish second and earn herself a place in the national team for the first time since 2002 when she won bronze for Kenya at the Commonwealth games in Manchester.
Wolrd Cross country bronze medallist Linet Masai came in third while Lineth Chepkirui in fourth and Anne Karindi also made the team. Korikwiang finished 14th but was given the wild card.
Eralier, John Kemboi easily won the junior boys’ 8k race to book a place in the Amman squad. In Nairobi for only the second time in his life,. Kemboi started slowly before upping the pace to win in 25:22.9.
“I have never run in Ngong before and was cautious at the start because I did not know the course but after two laps, I realised I wa s in very good shape and just went for it,” he said.
Paul Tanui(2nd, Japhet Korir (3rd), John Chepkwony (4th), Titus Mbishei (5th) and Charles Bett(6th) also made the team with World junior 10,000 metres champion Josephat Bett the biggest casualty after finishing 19th.
There were no surprises in the junior girls’ race however with World junior and World Youth champion Mercy Cherono easily winning in 21:44.2. Hilda Chepkemoi was second with Jackline Chepngeno and Jackline Chebii coming in third and fourth places respectively.
Junior Women’s Race – 6km
1 Mercy Cherono (Nrb) 21:44.2
2 Hilda Chepkemoi (S/Rift) 21:57.4
3 Jackline Chepngeno (S/Rift) 21:58.8
4 Jackline Chebii (S/Rift) 22:04.9
5 Faith Chepngetich (S/Rift) 22:17.7
6 Nelly Chebet (Nrb) 22:18.4
7 Judith Chepkoech (S/Rift) 22:32.9
8 Valentine Kipketer (S/Rift) 22:39.0
9 Grace Mbuthye (Southern) 22:40.0
10 Esther Chemutai (Ind) 22:42.4
Junior Men’s Race – 8km
1 John Kemboi (N/Rift) 25:22.9
2 Paul Tanui (Nyanza South) 25:23.6
3 Japhet Korir (S/Rift) 25:25.9
4 John Chepkwony (N/Rift) 25:28.3
5 Titus Mbishei (Police) 25:29.5
6 Charles Bett (Ind) 25:35.1
7 Peter Kimeli (Ind) 25:40.3
8 Moses Kibet (Uganda) 25:42.2
9 Simon Cheprot (Wes) 25:47.4
10 Paul Mutero (S/Rift) 25:48.2
Junior Men’s Race – 8km
1 Florence Kiplagat (Police) 28:31.4
2 Iness Chenonge (Forces) 28:31.8
3 Linet Masai (Police) 28:47.0
4 Lineth Chepkurui (Forces) 28:56.1
5 Ann Karindi (S/Rift) 29:01.3
6 Pascalia Chepkorir (Nyanza North) 29:15.9
7 Jelia Tinega (Nyanza South) 29:24.8
8 Sylvia Kibet (Nyanza North) 29:40.3
9 Margaret Wangari (Police) 29:44.2
10 Peninah Arusei (Forces) 29:46.4
Senior Men 12km
1 Moses Mosop (Police) 38:16.0
2 Mathew Kisorio (Individual) 38:37.2
3 Mark Kiptoo (Forces) 38:39.2
4 Linus Chumba (Individual) 38:47.7
5 William Chebon (Armed Forces) 38:49.2
6 Mangata Ndiwa (Individual) 38:52.2
7 Sammy Kitwara (Police) 38:52.6
8 Abraham Chebii (Prisons) 38:59.5
9 Silas Sang (N/Rift) 39:01.5
10 Geoffrey Mutai (S/Rift) 39:02.8
Charles Bett Chepkurui