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Karoki, Chepng’etich star as champs burn

KAROKI-CROSSNAIROBI, February 14- World Cross senior men titleholder, Japheth Korir was the highest profile victim of the explosive IAAF Permit/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships that saw Bedan Karoki and Faith Chepng’etich hold on to their long race titles at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens on Saturday.

Korir who made history as the youngest winner of the Holy Grail of World Cross was never a factor in the men 12km race, finishing outside the top 20 the order as Kenya named a provisional squad of 26 for next month’s IAAF World Cross in Guiyang, China.

Fellow Bydgoszcz 2013 gold medallist and two-time World Cross senior women champion was left with the task of impressing coaches at the team’s camp after being named as a wildcard entry following her 14th finish.

David Kiptarus and Rosefline Chepng’etich soared to the junior men 8km and women 6km crowns in the event where a combination of loaded fields and scorching conditions with heavy bred stunning upsets.

By the half-way mark of the senior men’s 12km race in Nairobi, Karoki was part of the leading five that included world half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, African cross-country champion Leonard Barsoton and African junior cross-country champion Moses Mukono.

Mukono, who just turned 19 in November, was the first to drop from the leading pack, followed a few minutes later by Barsoton. Karoki finally dropped Kamworor in the final stages and went on to open up a 10-metre gap by the finish line, winning in 35:08.

Kamworor crossed the line in 35:19, comfortably ahead of Barsoton (35:28) and Mukono (35:51).

In the senior women’s 8km race, two-time world junior cross-country champion Kipyegon was joined by Agnes Jebet out in front. Former world junior 5000m bronze medallist Alice Aprot moved through the field in a bid to stay close to the leaders but could not quite get on even terms with them.

In a close finish, 1500m specialist Kipyegon had the required speed to see off her rival, winning in 26:24 with 19-year-old Jebet less than a second behind, replicating their finish from the junior race at the 2013 World Cross Country Championships.

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Commonwealth 5000m silver medallist Janet Kisa (26:30) and Irene Chebet (26:32) gained the two other automatic qualifying spots, while Aprot faded to fifth.

The closest race of the day was the junior men’s 8km. National junior steeplechase bronze medallist Dominic Kiptarus won from John Langat by less than half a second, both clocking 23:34.

Little more than a second separated the top four finishers as Alfred Ngeno and Rodgers Chumo took the other automatic qualifying spots for the team heading to Guiyang.

World youth steeplechase champion Rosefline Chepngetich was a comfortable winner of the junior women’s 6km race, crossing the line nine seconds ahead of the unheralded Winnie Koima.

Daisy Jepkemei, who finished behind Chepng’etich at the 2013 World Youth Championships and 2014 World Junior Championships, finished third, two seconds ahead of Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Winfredah Nzisa.

LEADING RESULTS

Senior men 12km

  1. Bedan Karoki 35:08.0
  2. Geoffrey Kipsang 35:18.4
  3. Leonard Barsoton 35:27.3
  4. Moses Mukono 35:50.7
  5. Phillip Lagat 35:54.3
  6. Joseph Kiptum 36:01.5
  7. Joseph Chacha 36:05.1
  8. James Gitahi 36:10.0
  9. Emmanuel Ngetuny 36:11.3
  10. Titus Mbishei 36:15.1

Senior women 8km

 

  1. Faith Chepng’etich 26:23.4
  2. Agnes Tirop 26:24.6
  3. Janet Kisa 26:30.0
  4. Irene Chebet 26:31.3
  5. Alice Aprot 26:33.5
  6. Stacy Ndiwa 26:43.0
  7. Margaret Jelimo 26:50.5
  8. Viola Kibiwott 26:54.5
  9. Purity Cherotich 26:54.8
  10. Gladys Chesire 26:57.2

 

Junior men 8km

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  1. Dominic Kiptarus 23:33.3
  2. John Langat 23:33.6
  3. Aflred Ngeno 23:34.2
  4. Rodgers Chumo 23:34.6
  5. Geoffrey Korir 23:35.3
  6. Moses Koech 23:37.0
  7. Amos Kirui 23:51.1
  8. Alex Mutiso 23:53.8
  9. Aaron Ndiema 24:01.5
  10. Richard Yator 24:01.8

 

Junior women 6km

 

  1. Rosefline Chepng’etich 19:55.5
  2. Winnie Koima 20:04.1
  3. Daisy Jepkemei 20:07.1
  4. Winfrida Mbithe 20:09.4
  5. Joyline Cherotich 20:11.4
  6. Gladys Koech 20:16.0
  7. Hellen Ekalale 20:18.5
  8. Rose Jepketer 20:28.0
  9. Emily Chebet 20:29.0
  10. Lilian Kasait 20:32.8

 

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