Edith Masai (KEN) running in Elgóibar, Spain (José Pérez Gómez) © Copyright
General News 22 February 2003 – Nairobi, Kenya

Big names humbled at Kenyan Cross Country Championships

Nairobi, KenyaThis year’s Kenyan National Cross Country Championships humbled a few big names, as others celebrated their comeback and 'graduation'.

Charles Kamathi and Edith Masai were beaten as John Kibowen returned with a bang, while Vivian Cheruiyot and Viola Kibiwot moved up to the senior category for the first time. However, Catherine Ndereba – 10th women’s 8km - failed to get a slot in the women's team for the World Cross Country Championships to be held in Lausanne in March.

Today’s race served as a trial for the World Championships, and saw Kibowen the 1998 and 2000 World short course champion, make a successful comeback as he cruised to victory in the men's 4-km race in 11:06.

Kamathi, who broke Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie's reign as World 10,000m championin Edmonton in 2001, failed to finish the senior men's 12-km race. The race was won by John Cheruiyot Korir in 35:45, followed by another successful returnee Paul Koech.

Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2000 World Junior Champion, finished third in the 4-km senior women's race in 13:10, behind the winner Isabella Ochichi (13:00) and last year's World short course champion Edith Masai (13:07). Viola Kibiwot, another junior graduating to the seniors, finished sixth in the same race in 13:17.

Paul Koech, World Championships silver medallist in 1998 in Marrakech, was timed in 36:02 in the 12-km race and Abraham Cherono, Commonwealth Games 3000m Steeplechase bronze medallist, took third place in 36:10.

Sammy Kipketer, the fastest in the world at 10,000m in 2002, who was among the hot favourites, finished fourth in 36:14 behind Patrick Ivuti (36:22), and Richard Limo (36:15) last year's national champion, who was fourth at the World Cross in Dublin.

“I did not expect to win given the strong field, but now that I have won, I am looking forward to the World Cross Country Championships very keenly. We must work out a strategy to beat the Ethiopian (last year's champion Kenenisa Bekele),“ said Korir.

Cherono, Kipketer, Korir and Ivuti shot to the lead from the first lap, and Kamathi, who was with a group just adrift, seemed to do well, until the last lap when he fell out. But it was Kipketer who did most of the donkey work and appeared set to win until the last lap, when Korir caught up and overtook him.
The happiest man was Kibowen, winner of the 4-km men's race, who was the former twice World champion but was forced out of the race last year due to an injury. Kibowen was followed by Thomas Kiplitan (11:08), David Kilel (11:14) and 1999 World short course champion Benjamin Limo, who finished fourth in 11:15.

Jepchumba Koech won the 6-km junior women's race in 22:16, while 2000 World Junior silver medallist Alice Timbilil won the senior women's 8-km race in 26:56.

Eliud Kipchoge won the junior men's 8-km race in 23:28, while Jepchumba Koech won the junior women's 6-km race in 22:16.

Athletics Kenya selected a provisional team of 20 men and 20 women to proceed to camp in Kigari from where the final team will be named for the World Cross Country Championships to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 29-30.

Omulo Okoth for IAAF

Provisional team selected to go to camp:

Men: 12-km:
John C. Korir, Paul Koech, Abraham Cherono, Sammy Kipketer, Patrick Ivuti, Richard Limo;
John Kibowen, Thomas Kiplitan, David Kilel, Bejmain Limo, Mike Kipyego, Evans Kipchumba, Benjamin Maiyo, Elkana Angwenyi; 8-km:
Eliud Kipchoge, Moses Kimosop, Solomon Busiendich, Kipkorir Chepkwony, Augustine Choge, Barnabas Kosgei;
Women: 8-km:
Alice Timbilil, Pamela Chepchumba, Jepkorir Aiyabei, Elizabeth Rumokal, Magdalene Chemjor, Caroline Cheptanui, Rose
Chepyego, Monica Wangare;
Isabella Ochichi, Edith Masai, Vivian Cheruiyot, Prisca Chepleting, Jane Gakonyi, Viola Kibiwot;
Jepchumba Koech, Emily Chebet, Penina Chepchumba, Chemutai Rionotukei, Gladys Chemweno, Sharon Kipsang.

Leading results in Kenya Cross Country Championships

12-KM Senior Men
1 John C. Korir 35:45
2 Paul Koech 36:02
3 Abraham Cherono 36:10
4 Sammy Kipketer 36:14
5 Patrick Ivuti 36:22
6 Richard Limo 36:15
7 John Korir 36:30
8 Tom Nyariki 36:41
9 Willy Chelal 36:45
10 Eric Rotich 37:00

4-KM Senior Men
1 John Kibowen 11:06
2 Thomas Kiplitan 11:08
3 David Kilel 11:14
4 Benjamin Limo 11:15
5 Mike Kipyego 11:17
6 Evans Kipchumba 11:17
7 Benjamin Maiyo 11:18
8 Elkana Angwenyi 11:19
9 Barnabas Kipkoech 11:20
10 Abraham Chebii 11:21

8-KM Junior Men
1 Eliud Kipchoge 23:28
2 Moses Kimosop 23:29
3 Solomon Busiendich 23:34
4 Kipkorir Chepkwony 23:36
5 Augustine Choge 23:37
6 Barnabas Kosgei 23:42
7 Linus Chumba 23:58
8 Elias Kurgat 24:02
9 Moses Masai 24:20
10 Valentine Orare 24:24

8-KM Senior Women
1 Alice Timbilil 26:56
2 Pamela Chepchumba 27:01
3 Jepkorir Aiyabei 27:12
4 Elizabeth Rumokal 27:16
5 Magdalene Chemjor 27:28
6 Caroline Cheptanui 27:35
7 Rose Chepyego 27:42
8 Monica Wangari 27:46
9 Rahab Ndungu 27:54
10 Catherine Ndereba 27:58

4-KM Senior Women
1 Isabella Ochichi 13:00
2 Edith Masai 13:07
3 Vivian Cheruiyot 13:10
4 Prisca Chepleting 13:14
5 Jane Gakunyi 13:15
6 Viola Kibiwot 13:17
7 Edna Kiplagat 13:20
8 Anne Wambui 13:22
9 Salome Chepchumba 13:24
10 Naomi Mugo 13:25

6-KM Junior Women
1 Jepchumba Koech 22:16
2 Emily Chebet 22:18
3 Penina Chepchumba 22:20
4 Chemutai Rionotukei 22:20
5 Gladys Chemweno 22:21
6 Sharon Kipsang 22:27
7 Mercy Kwambai 22:37
8 Terecia Wangui 22:43
9 Pauline Kakarwai 22:45
10 Mwende Katuvya 22:49