This is a piece by Justin Lagat on the Athletics Kenya first athletics event of the year!
Amazing actions on the first Athletics Kenya track and field meeting held in Eldoret
Being the first track and field event on the calendar, some runners expected a few competitors to turn up since it would be too early in the season for others to run competitively, but that was not the case. The University of Eldoret’s track facility hosted one meeting that may end up being the most attended and action-filled event of the year. There were so many heats in the men’s 5000m and 800m races.
But then, Eldoret will be the venue where the national Olympic Trials will be done later in the year to select the team to represent Kenya in Tokyo. Perhaps some of the big stars wanted to test their running skills on Eldoret’s high altitudes and see how it is going to affect them during the trials.
Both the men’s and women’s 5000m final races were fast and furious with some pushing and jostling in the early stages of the races. With two laps to go in the women’s race, Beatrice Chebet and Sandra Chebet who happen to come from the same training camp in Londiani increased the pace a bit and began to open some gap on Lydia Jeruto. With a similar finishing kick that earned her the world cross country championship title last year, Beatrice outkicked her training partner as they neared the finish line to emerge the winner. Kiprop Robert won the men’s race ahead of Newton Kipkirui and Daniel Simiyu.
There was an epic battle between Eunice Sum and Qualine Kiprop in the last 300m of the women’s 1500m race in which Kiprop managed to hold on to the lead on the home straight up to the finish line. Abel Kipsang produced a great finish to emerge victorious in the men’s race ahead of Evans Keitany.
The 10,000m races looked more controlled and quite friendly. The women’s race started at a slow pace until the first kilometer when one runner injected a fast pace. The rest responded and maintained the same pace that saw the runner initiating the pace being dropped and stepping out before the rest settled again for a slower pace as though their aim was to get rid of anyone who spoils the pace! Dorcas Chepchirchir stayed patiently behind the pack almost throughout the race only to separate herself and do a fast solo run in the last three laps of the race to take a comfortable win. Richard Kimunyan won the men’s race followed closely by Josphat Bett.
The 800m Commonwealth Champion, Wycliffe Kinyamal took part in the 400m event finishing second behind Emmanuel Mutua as Hellen Syombua was a great spectacle to watch in the women’s event as she featured dominantly in her heats and the 4x400m relay races.