NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – Newly crowned National Cross Country champion Kandie Kibiwot says beating three-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor is a lucky charm for him to win the Africa Cross Country title in Lome, Togo.
Kandie, who stormed to his first national title on Saturday after taking advantage of Kamworor’s miss calculation in the route with 300m to go, will be seeking to blossom when the Africa Cross Country will be held in the first week of April after the event was rescheduled from March 1.
The 24-year-old Kenya Defence Forces runner, is even luckier after Kamworor, a two-time World Cross Country champion opted out of the team to Togo, leaving Kandie to lead the six-team men squad.
“I am very happy to be a winner of National Championships, I had prepared well and I knew I would win. My tactics of beating Kamworor worked well and that was to save the last 20 percent for a powerful kick finish,” Kandie who clocked 29:57.7 to take the title said.
“I am so happy, I am going to Togo to represent my country, I will now go and polish on my weakness which is the last kick and I will be ready to bring back gold. I believe no one will give me competition in the Africa Championships,” Kandie added.
Others who made the men’s team are; Nicholas Kimeli, Alfred Barkach, Emmanuel Bett, Edwin Kimutai and Edwin Kosgei.
In the corresponding women’s race, experienced Stacy Ndiwa from the National Police Service will spear head the charge after Sheila Chelangat, the winner of National Championship, pulled out of the team to Lome.
Chelangat had won the race in 34:34.9 ahead of Ndiwa and she expressed joy of landing her first win in a national competition.
“I thank God for the win, I have never been number one, this is my first time, I had prepared well because I wanted to represent my country in Africa, the cause was good but not as last year,” she stated.
The team will go to residential camp before departing for Lome, Togo to take part in the continental championship.
Senior Men 10km; Kibiwot Kandie, Nicholas Kimeli, Alfred Barkach, Emmanuel Bett, Edwin Kimutai, Edwin Kosgei.
Senior Women 10km; Stacy Ndiwa, Joyce Chepkemoi, Emmaculate Anyango, Beatrice Chebet, Monicah Chirchir, Margaret Chelimo.
U20 Men 8km; Samuel Chebulei, Jacob Krop, Shadrack Kipchirchir, Gideon Rono, Emmanuel Kiplagat, Emmanuel Maruu.
U20 Women 6km; Maurine Cherotich, Edna Jebitok, Agnes Jebet, Winnie Kimutai, Margaret Akidor, Debora Chemutai.