Ezekiel Kemboi, the 3000m steeplechase silver medallist at last year's World Championships, is determined to win in Athens after his close defeat by Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar in the Stade de France, in what many believe to have been the greatest Steeplechase encounter of all-time.
Having put that defeat behind him at Saint Denis, Kemboi has embarked on a training regime to improve his speed which was eventually found wanting against Shaheen, formerly Stephen Cherono, who also beat him for the gold in Manchester Commonwealth Games three years ago.
On Saturday 24 April , during the latest Athletics Kenya weekend meeting in Kisumu on the shores of world's largest fresh water lake, Lake Victoria, Kemboi chose the 1500m race to test his speed.
Despite high humidity and a bumpy murram track, Kemboi found the right pace and final burst of energy to crest the tape in 3:40.8 after he overhauled Micheal Ndhiwa (3:41.1) and Vickson Pololonet (3:41.3) who had put up a brave fight.
"I am just starting, careful to peak at the right time because the Olympics are quite far off," said Kemboi who is training at the IAAF High Performance in Eldoret. "I am okay in endurance and am trying to improve on my speed."
Konga not on song
But Pauline Konga, a silver medallist in the Atlanta Olympics eight years ago at the 5000m, struggled in the women's 10,000, finishing fifth but hoping to improve with time but specifically reach a qualifying mark for the Athens Games. The winner, Jane Omoro, previous champion at San Francisco Examiner Bay to Breaker, cruised home unchallenged in 34:47.8.
Kipkoech takes another 10,000m win
In the absence of Nelson Kiplagat, Francis Kipkoech won yet another 10,000m race to tighten his grip on the U$15,000 Energizer Golden Jackpot chase. Kipkoech clocked 29:19.0 as he struggled to shrug of Charles Koech who posted 29:20.8 followed by Samuel Kimaiyo in 29:30.4.
Kipkoech has already qualified for the jackpot final at the nationals in June when he must finish first to claim a share of Sh1 million on offer. However, he will have a real test of competition in two weeks time in the Eldoret when the some of the best developing stars make their first appearance in the seven meetings series.
The 800m was a competitive disappointment as Joel Marwa, who has continued to dominate the local series, won simply in 1:49.8, a far cry from Robert Kibet's 1:44.00 on the same track 15 year ago which was then the fastest time on
Africa soil at the distance. His twin brother Francis Marwa clocked 1:50.3 in
second position and Moses Barmasai (1:50.5).
The All African Games 400 metres champion Ezra Sambu also won in a slow time of 47.2.
400m: 1. Ezra Sambu, 47:2.0, 2. Thomas Musembi, 47.8, 3. Felix Lebo, 48:3.
800m: 1. Joel Marwa, 1;49.8, 2. Francis Marwa, 1:50.3, 3. Moses Barmasai; 4. 1:50.5; 4. Peto Bosiro, 1:50.8, 5. James Mokaya, 1:51.0.
1500m: 1. Ezekiel Kemboi, 3:40.8, 2. Michael Ndiwa, 3:41;1, 3. Vickson Pololonet 3:41.3; 4, Charles Bett,3:42.2; 5. Edward Mutai, 3:42.4
10,000m: 1. Francis Kipkoech, 29:19.0 , 2. Charles Koech, 29:20.8, 3. Samuel Kimaiyo; 29:30.4; 4. DavidTyson, 29:57.5; 5. Daniel Keter, 30:16.0
3000m steeplechase: 1. Richard Metelong, 8:45.2; 2. Luke Kibet, 8:47.2; 3. Caleb Ngetich, 8:48.0; 4. Patrick Langat, 8:53.6; Colin Kosgei, 9:02.0.
400m: 1. Elizabeth Mutoka, 56.6 , 2. Florence Wasike, 57.9, 3. Caroline Awuor, 58.6.
800m: 1. Charity Wandia, 2:07;4, 2. Glady's Kwamboka, 2:10.0, 3. Carolyne Chepkwony, 2:10.7; 4. Elfin Mose; 2:11.4; 5. Josphine Nyarunda, 2:13.5.
1500m: 1. Susan Muthoni, 4:26.3, 2. Charity Wandia, 4:28.3; 3. Simuret Sultan, 4:31.1; 4. Irene Chemtich, 4:32.6
5000m: Women, 1. Gladys Momanyi, 16:01:3, 2. Monica Otwori, 16:32.2) 3. Jane Omoro, 16:38.7; 4. Wambui Mutua, 17:06.2; 5. Jeria Chenega, 17:08.5.
10,000m: Jane Omoro, 34:47;8, 2. Lucy Karimi, 36:30.3, 3. Christine Chepkemet, 37:40.0; 4. Cecilia Waritu, 38:14.8; 5. Pauline Konga, 38:27.0.