NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8- Two-time World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor has been tipped to reclaim his local title in the absence of defending champion Leonard Barsoton when the national championships take place on Saturday at the Uhuru Gardens.
Barsoton and his female counterpart Irene Cheptai will not defend their titles in teh championship that will also be used to select the Kenyan team to the Africa Cross Country Championships due for March 17 in Chlef, Algeria.
Kamworor (Police), who has vowed to complete a hat trick by reclaiming the title he lost last year to Barsaton, will be the highlight in the men’s 10km battle that will feature the reigning Africa Cross Country champion James Rungaru (Central) and the 2013 World Cross Country champion Japheth Korir (South Rift).
The 25-year old will also be using the race to prepare for his World Half Marathon title defence on March 24 in Valencia, Spain.
Richard Kimunyan (Central Rift), who won men’s Under-20 8km race title at the nationals last year before settling for bronze in Kampala, hopes to graduate to senior ranks in style in the men’s race that will also has Africa 10,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei (Prisons) and Mangata Ndiwa (Prisons).
World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri (Kenya Defence Forces) is the person to beat in women’s 10km fray that has Africa Cross Country champion Alice Aprot (Prisons), who also won silver at the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala.
Others to watch out for are World Cross Country Under-20 bronze medallist Cellphine Chespol (Prisons), the 2016 Paris Marathon champion Visiline Jepkesho (Prisons) and Stancy Ndiwa(PolIce).
Africa Cross County women’s Under-20 champion Miriam Cherop, World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase champion Caren Chebet, World Under-18 800m bronze medallist Lydia Jeruto, World Under-18 1,500m bronze medallist Ednah Jebitok will highlight women’s Under-20 6km race.
World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase champion Leonard Bett, World Under-18 3,000m silver medallist Edward Zakayo and the 2015 World Under-18 3,000m bronze medallist will face off in men’s uUnder-20 8km battle.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and National Youth Service (NYS) will field teams for the first time in the one-day competition that will get under way with women’s Under-20 6km race at 8.30am.