Justin Lagat sent us this piece from the Kenyan Trials as he watched the races from the stands. The Kenyan Trials are some of the most brutal races anywhere in the world. Some might say, that it is harder to make the Kenyan team in some events than to make a World Championships final.
Silas Kiplagat battles Asbel Kiprop, Doha DL, May 2012,
Kenya Selects its Team for Moscow:
Today, in the capital city of Kenya, the Nyayo National stadium was packed with athletes and fans as Athletics Kenya (AK) selected a team to represent the country at the world championships slated for the 10thto 18th of next month in Russia.
The first event that took place at 9am in the morning was the women’s 10,000m race in which, out of the four athletes that finished in the first four places in Daegu, it was only Linet Maasai who turned up at the starting line. As is usual with her, she stayed at the rear of the field during the first laps of the race before finally moving to the front in the later stages and trying to pull ahead of the group. But, things didn’t work out well for her when the pace was stepped up a little in the last three laps and she wasn’t able to hold on to it and ended up in fifth position. It was Gladys Cherono who won the race in 33:41 minutes, followed by Emily Chebet; the world cross country Champion, and Sally Kaptich in third place.
After an entertainment break of about two hours, the 10,000m men reported at the starting point at around 12 noon. This group was probably the one with the greatest number of elites that turned up, but still notably absent here was Geofrey Mutai, who had won the national championships a couple of weeks ago. One would have expected that with such a group of stars, the pace would pick up gradually since everyone would not want to act the rabbit, but just the opposite happened. The first lap was crossed in 62 seconds, and the pace was maintained that way for some time leaving the fans wondering for how long the guys were going to sustain it. At the 5000m mark, which was crossed in 13:40s, Martin Irungu Mathathi decided to become the sacrificial lamb by stepping to the front in a blistering pace that left the rest following in a single file. However, he did not even last for two laps before the rest caught up with him and he faded to the back before finally stepping out of the race. I have no idea whether it was his intention, but his pace made a number of athletes step out too and the first two athletes who won this race ended up being his training mates who are all based in Japan: Bidan Karoki won in 27:31, followed by Paul Tanui in second, and Keneth Kipkemoi came in third.
In the women’s 5,000m, Mercy Cherono employed a strong finish to outsprint Violah Jelagat as they approached the finish line. In the 1500m, the last 300m was a very interesting battle among Hellen Obiri who won, Faith Chepng’etich who took second, and Nancy Jebet Lang’at in third place.
The men’s 1500m produced a formidable force to reckon with in Russia. Asbel Kiprop paced the earlier stages of the race until the remaining 600m when Nixon took over. Silas Kiplagat sprinted to the front in the last 100m as Asbel chased him closely from behind. The three of them dived to the finish line in a way that we had to await the official results to be sure of who won it. Silas Kiplagat emerged the winner, followed by Asbel Kiprop, and Nixon Chepseba closed the list of the top three. All their times were in 3:33 with only a few micro-seconds separating them.
The men’s 3000m steeplechase left the whole stadium electrified with the very fast pace that ensued, Conselsus Kipruto often at the front. At some point, Ezekiel Kemboi stepped at the front and increased the pace more, leaving the spectators standing, then retreated back as he motioned to the crowds to sit and relax. Conselsus won the race, followed by Abraham Mutai in Second, and Brimin Kipruto in third. Paul Kipsiele Koech and Ezekiel Kemboi were later named in the team to replace Brimin.
Milkah Chemos won the women’s 3000m, followed by Gladys Jerotich in second, and Kiyeny Jepkemoi in third place. Lydia Chepkirui was also named in the team.
The names that made the 5000m men’s team would have easily been predictable. Isaiah Kiplagat won, Thomas Longosiwa came in second, and Edwin Soi came in third.
Eunice sum outsprinted Janeth Jepkosgei in the last 50 meters to win the women’s 800m as Winnie Chebet followed them in third place. Anthony Chemut won the men’s race, followed by Rotich Ferguson and Jeremiah Mutai.
I do wish all the athletes who made the team today all the best in Moscow