17 JUN 2005 General News Nairobi, Kenya

World marathon champion Ndereba ready for title defence - Kenyan Champs, Day Two

Catherine Ndereba wins the women's marathon (Getty Images)Catherine Ndereba wins the women's marathon (Getty Images) © Copyright

Kenya's World marathon champion Catherine Ndereba won the 10,000m at the East African nation's championships which she said marked her local preparation for her global title defence in Helsinki, Finland, in August.

Ndereba beat Milan marathon champion Rita Sitienei on the home stretch with a strong sprint finish and crossed the line in 33:22.27. Sitienei, who was also third in Turin marathon early this year, was second in 33:23.04, ahead of Caroline Cheptanui who finished in 33:25.03.

Beatrice Omwanza, the winner in Turin Marathon and winner of the Paris marathon last year, was fourth in 33:30.02.

"This is the end of my local training programme. I will run in the Sapporro Half Marathon (in Japan) on 3 July and proceed to Philadelphia in the US to train for the World Championships," Ndereba, who won the World title in the 2003 Paris Championships, told reporters.

"I have faith in God that I will retain the World title in Helsinki. My body is fine now and that is why I won't run at the Kenyan trials," said the born-again Ndereba who is also Athens Olympics marathon silver medallist and four-time Boston City marathon winner.

She stayed behind the front runners until the 11th lap when she dashed to the front briefly, only to be overtaken by Sitienei and Cheptanui.

At the bell, Ndereba engaged a gear up and was caught by the two rivals who were head-to-head with her until the home stretch when she sprinted to victory.

Kenya will select a team for the World Championships on 25 June. Ndereba has already been selected to defend her marathon title.

The second day of the national championships was marked by a low turn-out but officials attributed this to the Rugby International Safari Sevens that was taking place at Rugby Union of East Africa ground on the western side of Kenya's capital Nairobi.

Viola Kibiwott, the winner of the World junior 1500m in Jamaica in 2002 and twice winner of the junior title at the World Cross Country Championships (2001, 2002), dashed to victory in the second 800m semi-final in 2:09.2 as Tanzania's Luiza John followed in 2:09.8. Charity Wandia won the first semi-final in 2:10.06.

Omulo Okoth for the IAAF

Leading results

Men
19km walk
1. David Kimutai 1:16.07
2. Julius Sawe 1:19.19
3. Joseph Sirma 1:19.58

Triple Jump
1. Silas Kosgei 15.73m
2. Eric Kimutai 15.71
3. Christopher Kemei 15.57

Discus
1. Joshua Pondo 49.09
2. Kimeli Tanui 46.86
3. David Terer 46.37

Women
19km Race walk
1. Grace Wanjiru 1:32.22
2. Mary Njoki 1:34.59
3. Jepngetich Kosgei 1:37.58

High Jump
1. Emily Chebet 1.64m
2. Anna Akinya 1.58
3. Nancy Chebet 1.56

Triple Jump
1. Janet Jepchumba 11.82
2. Hellen Chemutai 11.56
3. Caroline Cherop 11.10

Note: The walking events are for 19km because of a miscalculation by lap scorers.