Some highlights from the Kenyan Trials for London 2017, A view from Kenya

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Kipyegon_Faith-Pre17.JPGFaith Kipyegon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Justin Lagat covered the Kenyan Trials for RunBlogRun, which happened on June 23-24. Justin provides a succint update on the Kenyan Trials and some of the stars, new and old, that will be heading to London for August 4-13, 2017.

There were no issues with wild cards on the first day of Kenya's national trials. Everything was simple. The first three women to cross the finish line in the 10,000m event and the first three to cross in the men's 5,000m event automatically became the ones who made Kenya's team to the London world championships.

Only eight women toed the starting line of the 10,000m event and by the middle of the race; only four were still in contention for the win. Alice Aprot did much of the pacing in the early stages of the race before Agnes Tirop took over as the race entered its climax. At the bell, it was a race between Tirop and Irene Cheptai. Tirop held on to the lead as Cheptai followed closely to take second. Alice Aprot came in third to complete the first three places to make the team.

In the men's 5000m event, new faces made the team. Cyrus Ruto who finished third at the Olympic Trials last year, but failed to be named in the team made proved that the selectors were wrong about him as he beat a competitive field to win the trials at the Nyayo Stadium. He was followed by Davis Kiplagat and Geoffrey Koech to take second and third respectively.

On the second day, Ronald Kwemoi showed that he is in tremendous form as he kept glancing back and urging his competitors to close the gap in the home stretch as he ran a 3:30.89 to win the men's 1500m race. Timothy Cheruiyot came second ahead of Elijah Manangoi. With a wild card, Asbel Kiprop will join the trio to form a strong team to London.

Jairus Birech paced a fast men's 3000m steeple chase final and only slowed down and let Conseslus Kipruto and Brimin Kipruto catch up with him as they neared the finish line, after the three appeared to be safely in the team. Baba yao "Their father", Ezekiel Kemboi who has a wild card as the defending champion ran to meet and celebrate with them at the finish line.

It was expected that Hellen Obiri was going to win the women's 5000m race comfortably, and she did. Fingers were being crossed for the second and third finishers and it did not help the situation any better when electric power was suddenly cut off mid race in the village where Margaret Jelimo grew up and almost everyone there was glued to the screen. I was the one who broke the news to her brother just after Jelimo had finished second. Sheila Chepkurui finished third.

Another one who did not disappoint is Faith Kipyegon who won the women 1500m race ahead of Winny Chebet and Selah Jepleting.

Celiphine Chespol ran a comfortable women 3000m steeplechase race and waited for Beatrice Chepkoech so they would cross the finish line together hand in hand. Purity Kirui finished third while Hyvin Kiyeng, the world defending champion did not participate in the trials but will be joining them in London.

Julius Yego threw his best throw this year, and his best ever on Kenyan soil, of 87.97 to win the men's Javelin Throw competition and confirm that he is ready for the world championships.

There was neither David Rudisha nor Ferguson Rotich among the first three to cross the finish line in the men's 800m final which made the decision a bit complicated for the selectors as they had to drop the third finisher from the team to accommodate the two wild card holders. The third finisher is a training partner to the winner. Both Emmannuel Korir, the winner, and Michael Saruni, 3rd place, train under the former Olympic champion, Paul Ereng at the University of Texas, Elpaso. Kipyegon Bett was second.

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