Road to Doha World Championships begins at the Uasin Gishu championships in Eldoret

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We asked Justin Lagat to give us his view of a local championships in Kenya. This was the recent Uasin Gishu championships, held in Eldoret. Justin Lagat is our long time senior writer in Kenya. Justin covers his country once a week and more during major championships.

IMG_20190713_121552.jpgNicolas Kimeli in 1,500m, photo by Justin Lagat

IMG_20190717_161949.jpgWomen's 5000m race, photo by Justin Lagat

IMG_20190713_130341.jpgMen's 5000m race, photo by Justin Lagat

Preparations to get the national team to represent Kenya at the world championships in Doha are well underway in Kenya with various counties and other entities including the Kenya Defence Forces, the Kenya Police, the Kenya Prisons, Kenya Wildlife Service, the Refugee camp, the National Youth Service, among others.

While some runners are already just awaiting the national trials to be done on 20th - 22nd next month, others are yet to go through the regional championships to be selected to run at the nationals. This happens amid some rumors doing rounds on social media about a public demand to have Ezekiel Kemboi to return to the track and raise the hopes of Kenyans maintaining their supremacy in the 3000m steeplechase event. With Edwin Soi who has a very long career on track having just recently won the national trials for the African Games, many Kenyans are concerned that many talents on track are quickly moving on to the road races, which is beginning to cost Kenyans their dominance on the long-distance track events.

This past weekend, as various counties did their championships, I was able to attend the Uasin Gishu championships in Eldoret; the city of champions.

For some big stars who turned up to participate in some of the events, it was not necessarily for them to climb the ladder to the nationals, but to gauge their fitness against the raw talent around the training camps situated close to Eldoret. In the men's 10,000m race the last stages of the race turned into a sibling contest between Jairus Birech and Cosmas Birech. Cosmas, the Rome marathon champion, eventually won the race.

Other big stars present included Wyclife Kinyamal who ran in both the 800m and the 200m races finishing second in the 200m race, but appeared to have stepped out after the first 400m for new stars to win the 800m race. Nicholas Kimeli, the new promising 5000m talent ran in the 1500m race and won it.

Compared with the men, there was a relatively lower turn out by the women at the meeting and the organizers had to even decide to pick runners who were fewer than three in their events to just proceed to the regional championships without having to compete here. The few women who entered themselves in the women's 10,000m were asked to join those running in the 5,000m event to save time.

The Central Rift regional championships that cover Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Baringo counties will happen on 27th this month in Eldoret.

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