NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17- New York Marathon champion, Geoffrey Mutai and former Commonwealth gold winner, Lucy Kabuu went some way to burying their London 2012 Olympics disappointment by powering to the men 10000m and women 5000m titles at Kenya Police Championships that got underway in Nairobi on Thursday.
In the two-day meet bereft of some of the big guns of the department among them world men 800m record holder, David Rudisha who sat out the event, double world champion, Vivian Cheruiyot led other luminaries in stepping down the distance when she qualified for the finals of the women 1500m.
The men 10000m decider was the first track final of the day and it did not disappoint owing the quality of the line-up that faced the starting gun at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Mutai, who missed London Olympics selection when he was overlooked after failing to finish in his Boston Marathon defense last month, edged out a charged contest for the line in a frenetic conclusion to the 25-lap event.
The New York winner stopped the clock in 28:23.0 after stopping the hard chasing Matthew Kisorio, the tenth finisher in Boston, who was less than a stride behind in 28:23.1 as Mutai held on to his Kenya Police title.
Kisorio’s younger sibling, Nicholas Togom was a comfortable third in 28:27.1 as London Marathon winner, Wilson Kipsang stopping the timer in 28:41.3 for fourth as he continues his build-up to his first ever Olympics this summer.
“I enjoyed the race today and I look forward to be competitive in the international marathons later in the year. I’m not sure whether I will defend my New York title but my objective is to continue training.
“The weather in Boston was very humid and when I took water, I felt pain in my stomach and this cost me. I have to move on from missing out on the Olympics and I wish those who will run in London success,” Mutai who pledged to be back on the top of marathon running as he seeks a first ever World Marathon Majors crown stated.
“The focus is now on going to London and doing my best. I know that I will go there as a favourite and this has given me the motivation to train even harder. It will be a great honour to our departed colleague, Samuel Wanjiru, if we go there and defend the title,” Kipsang offered.
“I’m looking forward to the Olympics and having studied the course that will be used, I must train on how to negotiate corners faster and climb the hills quicker in addition to my normal training,” the Frankfurt Marathon titleholder whose lifetime best of 2:03:42 is the official second fastest mark of all time added.
In the women 5000m final, Kabuu, the runner-up at the Dubai and fifth finisher in London who was overlooked for the women marathon team for London, is seeking another route to her second Olympics.
“My hopes of going there have not ended and I will try all I can do at the 10000m Trials to get my ticket,” she announced after surging away in the last 300m to secure the women 5000m title in 15:45.8 after last year’s winner and double world gold medalist, Vivian Cheruiyot, opted out of a defense.
“I was comfortable with the pace and I wish Vivian was here so that we could push it up. It will be difficult having ran two marathons but with hard work, it can be possible,” the athlete who ran a barnstorming 2:19:34 marathon debut in January in Dubai added after her sizzling finishing kick compelled new recruit Janet Kisia (15:45.8) and Joyce Wanjiku (15:56.5) to accept the lesser medals.
Commonwealth 10000m winner, Grace Momanyi (16:15.5) and Olympics women steeplechase fourth finisher Ruth Bosibori (16:28.5) finished in that order in fifth and sixth after fading from the place in the penultimate lap.
Cheruiyot still gave the crowd mostly comprising of fellow police officers a taste of her brimming talent when she qualified for the women 1500m finals as the second fastest runner of the day.
“I chose to run in the 1500m to gain more speed for the longer races. I have not yet made up my mind on whether I will double in London but my focus remains on winning the only medal I do not have, Olympics gold.
“I was sick in the Beijing Olympics and I did not even manage to win a medal and this was disappointing and I want to take my chance in London if I qualify. I have the world, African, Diamond League and even a Laureus awards and Olympics is the biggest,” the Daegu double winner who started her international track campaign by winning the women 3000m race in Doha said.
The corresponding men’s race was an interesting affair where Athens Olympics bronze winner and twice Diamond League winner in the 3000m steeplechase, Paul Kipsiele Koech, set the quickest mark of the rounds with 3:41.00.
Kipsiele who stormed to 7:56.58 world lead in Doha last week in his speciality as he opened his DL title defense with victory ran in the same heat as Commonwealth and Africa steeplechase gold medalist, Mateelong who raced 3:44.2 for third to also book his place at the final.
Olympics titleholder, Asbel Kiprop who is the Police metric mile champion was missing from the event as Diamond League winner at the event, Nixon Chepseba, climbed down the distance ladder to compete in the men 800m where he sailed to Friday’s medal race.
Other notable absentees in the Police meet were Olympic 800m women champion, Pamela Jelimo, two-time world men steeplechase titleholder, Ezekiel Kemboi, Worlds 3000m steeplechase women bronze medallist, Milcah Chemos and athletes selected to contest London tickets in the men 10000m at the Pre Fontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon next week.
1. Geoffrey Mutai 28:23.0
2. Matthew Kisorio 28:23.1
3. Nicholas Togom 28:27.1
4. Wilson Kipsang 28:41.3
5. Not listed 28:42.0
6. Louis Ndiema 28:50.5
7. Kiprop Limo 29:00.5
8. Philemon Rono 29:17.2
9. Franklin Lagat 29:12.7
10. Hillary Kiptoo 29:52.3
1. Lucy Kabuu 15:49.8
2. Janet Kisia 15:50.0
3. Joyce Wanjiku 15:56.5
4. Edith Chelimo 15:58.2
5. Grace Momanyi 16:15.5
6. Ruth Bosibori 16:28.5
7. Dorcas Chepchirchir 16:40.6
8. Mary Wacera 16:45.3
9. Antonina Ruto 16:54.3
10. Esther Chepchirchir 16:57.1