NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – African champion Alice Aprot and little-known Abraham Kiptum were crowned the 2016 Ndalat Gaa Cross Country champion on Saturday in a race held in honour of the late Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat.
Aprot competing in the women’s 8km, clocked 27:24.5 edging out last year’s European Champions Club Cup Cross Country winner Irene Cheptai who came second in 27:46.4 as former Olympic 3000m champion Gladys Chesir sealed the podium in 28:16.7.
Aprot who finished fourth at the Rio Olympics in 10,000m, stayed in the leading pack of four athletes that included Cheptai, Chesir and Sheilah Chemwetich until the 4km mark.
At the 6 km mark, Aprot and Cheptai were calling shots running shoulder-by-shoulder but victorious Aprot who also won gold at the All-Africa Games in Congo employed her tactics out-sprinting her competitor for the victory.
Aprot who has represented Kenya thrice at the world cross country said the race was part of her preparation for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships scheduled for Kampala next year.
“Today’s victory came as a surprise since I had not trained. However I am optimistic of representing Kenya in Kampala,” Aprot said.
She first represented Kenya at the 2010 World Cross Country in Poland, finishing ninth before settling fourth at the Africa Cross Country in South Africa the following year in junior race.
Her maiden cross country medal came at the Africa Cross Country last year in Kampala where she got a bronze medal in the senior category.
Chemwetich finished fourth in 28:25.6 while Africa Cross Country Champion Sheilah Chepkirui finished fifth in 28:31.6.
In the senior men 10km category, Kiptum obliterated a strong field to emerge the winner.
Kiptum, who is under Run Czech Racing programme, stopped the timer in 30:48.9 beating Josphat Tanui to second in 30:59.4, as Bernard Kipkemoi settled third in 31:05.8.
Elisha Kipchirchir (31:10.09) and Emmanuel Bor (31:15.07) followed in that order.
“I am still staring up and by next year I will be on form for the World Cross Country. It is my dream to run for Kenya,” Kiptum said.
Edwin Ng’etich won the 8km junior men in 24:48.3 while Sandrafelis Chebet secured the victory in 20:34.1