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Sandrafelis, Bett win opening AK Cross meet

Sandrafelis Chebet winning the women’s 10km race during the first meet of AK Cross Country Series on Saturday 4th November, 2017. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4- David Bett bolted off leading from gun to tape to win the men’s 10km race in the opening meet of the Athletics Kenya (AK) Cross Country Series on Saturday at the Posta Grounds in Nairobi while 2015 World Youth 2000m steeplechase silver medalist Sandrafelis Chebet won the corresponding women’s race.

Bett maintained the same pace from start to finish, wheeling away from his competitors and managed to cross the line in a time of 29:11.9.

“I started off strongly, that was my intention. But once I felt that my body was okay and I was still strong, I maintained the pace till the end of the race. It is great winning here today because I didn’t perform well at Ndalat Gaa last weekend and I am hoping I can sustain the tempo till the end,” Bett, still looking strong after the grueling race said.

Peter Matelong came second in a time of 29:29.8 while Peter Njoroge settled third clocking 29:30.8.

David Bett winning the men’s senior race. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

It was a tough course for the athletes especially with the early morning shower making the otherwise flat Posta Grounds course slippery, needing a lot of tact and caution in racing.

But Korir showed superb mastery in a crowded field, racing off from the rest of the pack, not wanting to do the same mistakes he did in Ndalaat where he was boxed in the middle of competitors.

At the third loop as they completed the six kilometer mark, Korir maintained his lead with Matelong and youngster Meshack Letim following him closely waiting for him to tire off and pounce.

But the race leader kept his pace and by the time they came to the bell, he had opened a 200m gap between him and the chasing pack.

“I think I really did my best considering the way the course was set up. It was very slippery. Hopefully over the next leg, I will try and win,” second placed Matelong said.


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Men’s senior 10km leading pack. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

The men’s race also saw World 1500m champion Elijah Manang’oi participate in his first race of the season as well as 400m athlete Alphas Kishoyian and former 800m star Jackson Kivuva.

There was no definite winner in the women’s race until the 8kilometre mark when Chebet shed herself off the pack. Ultimately, she opened up the pace with one kilometer left, cutting the tape in a time of 32:53.2.

Coming in second was 2017 World Cross Country bronze medalist Lilian Kasait who timed 33:14.9 while Gloria Kite finished third in 34:01.7.

“My main aim is to get the body into form because next season I am graduating to the seniors. It is my second win of the season and hopefully, I can maintain my shape. The race was very tough because Kasait is a seasoned athlete and she really pushed me,” Chebet, who also won the Ndalat Gaa Cross country last weekend, said.

Lilian Kasait leading Sandrafelis Chebet in the AK Nairobi Cross Country on Saturday 4th, November 2017. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA.

Kasait and Chebet stuck shoulder to shoulder for most of the race but were tactfully running behind early pace setter Mary Munanu.

At the bell, Munanu had dropped back all the way to fifth with Kasait and Chebet dictating the tempo up, Kite and Peninah Kandie giving the chase from a distance. Chebet ultimately pulled away from the rest to stride unchallenged across the line.

Beatrice Chebet won the junior 6km women’s race in 20:01.9 ahead of Agnes Makali (20:10.9) and Janet Jepkoech (20:17.6) who were second and third respectively.

Seventeen year old Kiprono Sitonik won the corresponding 8km boys’ race in 23:35.5 ahead of Sila Kiptoo and Nicholas Chelule who were second and third respectively.

The next stop will be in Sotik.

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