NAIROBI, September 12- Kenya’s Commonwealth and African silver medallist, Isaiah Kiplangat Koech, is raring to catch the bouquet and close his season with IAAF Continental Championships honours in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Koech, who’s famously known as ‘President’ due to the closeness of his name to Athletics Kenya boss, Isaiah Kiplagat, reigned over 5,000m in Kenya in the previous three seasons before compatriot Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku stole the thunder this year.
The power-pack athlete played the bridesmaid to his compatriot at the National Championships in June before being led to the altar at both the Glasgow Club Games and continental showdown in Morocco by the same opponent inside a week in August but ahead of the gathering of continents, Kiplangat is hoping lightening will not strike for the fourth time.
A personal best in 8km race (22:09) in New Orleans in March before a seasonal 10K best the following month in 28:07 at the same US city opened his season with much promise.
Koech was slowly moving into form clocking a seasonal best (13:07.55) in Oregon on May 31.
A week later he lined up for at the National Championships cum Commonwealth games trials in Nairobi trials seeking ticket to Glasgow 2014.
But as is typical of Kenyan trials, Koech could only manage fourth place at gruesome championships in 13:30.81. AK however came to his rescue by handing him a wild card for both events.
In the 5,000m final at Hampden Park, Koech did most of the work pushing the pace for almost the entire race but he was edged out in a sprint finish by compatriot Mwangangi having to settle for silver in 13:14.06.
“The race was fine and I am happy about the medal. It was a good race although it was raining and we got one and two for Kenya. The pace was so slow so I decided to push it a bit because I wanted to go slightly faster.”
A few days later, the order was repeated at the African Athletics Championships in Marrakesh with Koech again following Mwangangi across the line in 13:35.73 to make the African team for the Intercontinental Cup also set for the Moroccan City.
Koech and Mwangangi are the only athletes from Africa to feature at the same event from the same nation and another 1-2 cannot be ruled out although this time, the former is hoping to reverse the finishing order in a season where the 12 and a half-lap race has evolved to be an internal competition.