NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25- Ras-Al-Khaimah titleholder and former World Cross junior gold winner, Geoffrey Kipsang as well as two-time World Junior champion, Mercy Cherono helped themselves to contrasting victories as the annual Kenya Police Service Athletics Championships opened in Nairobi.
With Day 2 set to roll off on Saturday, Kipsang who set the world leading 58:54 in the UAE prevailed over national cross champion, Philemon Rono and former World Half silver winner, Bernard Kipyego, in the dash for the honours.
Cherono who is bidding to break into the national team for the Moscow Worlds was the other pedigree runner who took the honours when she won the women 1500m final whilst her former junior teammate, Stacy Ndhiwa, also triumphed in the 5000m event.
Ndhiwa, the former Commonwealth Youth Games 1,500m titleholder, and a sister to junior star shook off spirited challenge from steeplechaser Lydia Rotich and newcomer Mary Wacera to win her event.
Kipsang, who is trains at the Global Sports Communications stable in Kaptagat, controlled the race even as his close challengers Rono and 2008 world junior runner Philemon Limo kept close tabs.
The 20-year-old runner then deployed the afterburners homes straight to win in 28:17.0 in the punishing elevation of Nairobi.
Training partner Rono (28:18.5), Limo (28:20.0) and the upcoming Paul Lonyangata (28:26.0) came in second, third and fourth as Kipyego (28:36.5) and Silas Kipruto (28:40.9) followed.
Former World Youth silver medalist Daniel Selel (28:47.4), 2009 world cross silver medalist Titus Mbishei (28:50.1) and John Kemboi (28:51.0) sealed the top-nine spots.
“The race was okay and I am happy to have made the police team and the task of qualifying to world championships remains,” Kipsang who opted out of the national World Cross team despite being handed the wildcard said.
Former Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Augustine Choge (3:40.4) qualified to Saturday’s men’s 1,500m finals.
Cherono, who is yet to replicate her blistering form as a junior in the senior ranks dismissed national cross champion, Mary Wangare, Ndhiwa as well as World Indoor steeplechase titleholder, Milcah Chemos who stepped down the distance.
Cherono clocked 4:10.3 against Wangare’s 4:11.4 as Ndhiwa (4:13.0) and Chemos 4:15.6 trooped home in that order.
Caroline Tuingong, who holds the world junior 3,000m steeplechase record, faded to eighth in 4:36.5.
Ndhiwa eventually won the 5000m in 16:19.5 ahead of Mary Wacera (16:19.8) and Rotich (16:20.0).