NAIROBI, January 14 – Cross-country competitions will be taking a decisive turn this weekend when two of the sixteen Athletics Kenya branches run their national championships in Thika and in Nairobi.
World cross-country champion Geoffrey Kamworor will lead a deep field in the National Police service championships that will run on Saturday at Nairobi’s Ngong’ Race Course.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) will precede the competitions on Friday, with veteran Mark Kiptoo and Leonard Oloitiptip leading the entry list that will start with a 21KM Road Race in Thika.
Though the elite athletes would be setting their targets beyond the Africa Cross Country Championships, their participation in the local events is paramount as they select teams for amassing points during the inter-affiliates in Nairobi mid in February.
“Both the KDF and Kenya National Police championships are part of the duties of the athletes and they are required to compete for their units. We shall be seeing the best doing their best,” said Sammy Rono, who is tasked with following up the cross-country running programs.
Of the two disciplines forces, the Police unit is boasting of the top cream of the country’s runners and the championships will herald a mini-trial that would be replayed during the nationals that would be used to select team to the 4th Africa Cross-country championships scheduled for Yaounde, Cameroon on March 12.
Last year, Kamworor beat Mathew Kisorio and Moses Mukono during the Police National Cross Country championships while in the women’s race, Stacy Ndiwa was crowned winner ahead of Janet Kisa and distant world champion Vivian Cheruiyot who was making a comeback from maternity leave.
After the seven-legged cross-country series concluded at Kabianga University last Saturday, focus now revert to the championships proper with the two Athletics Kenya branches kick-starting the grass root competitions.
Other branches to follow include Kenya Prisons Service on January 23 at Uhuru Gardens, Kenya Universities championships on 30th at Kabarak in Nakuru the same day the regional Championships will conduct theirs.