The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Nairobi, KenyaFleet footed double World champion Vivian Cheruiyot once again proved to be unassailable in one of the numerous highlight performances of the two-day Kenya Police Championships meet that ended with a flourish in Nairobi on Friday (18).
And despite some of the marquee runners domiciled in the department such as Olympic champions Pamela Jelimo and Asbel Kiprop, 800m World record holder David Rudisha and two-time Worlds steeplechase gold medallist Ezekiel Kemboi skipping the meet, the depth in the Police ranks did not deprive the fans a healthy serving of their internationally acclaimed stars in action.
Favourable weather, with the sun out and temperatures oscillating between 19-22 degrees C, humidity levels of 62 percent and wind speeds of 8 mph played its part in enhancing the party as supporters turned out in numbers at the renovated cathedral of Kenyan sports, the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
With the Olympics on the horizon, it was not a surprise that the Police luminaries who heeded the call to showcase their talent at their annual home extravaganza spared most of their energies for the qualification push for London at the July Trials.
Over the two days, established names including Cheruiyot chose to step down the distance to avoid expending themselves unnecessarily with other top draws excused to compete at the Samsung Diamond League second round in Shanghai.
Day 1- Mutai, Kabuu steal the show
Having been overlooked by Athletics Kenya (AK) for the London Olympics marathoners Geoffrey Mutai and Lucy Kabuu bounced back to fine form with victories in the men’s 10,000m and women’s 5000m races.
Mutai, the Boston and New York Marathon record holder had fine company in his event as he set out to hold on to the crown he won last year and it took a thrilling finish for him to successfully defend.
Mutai, Boston Marathon 10th finisher Matthew Kisorio, his younger brother Peter Kimeli and London Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang, stamped their authority in the field with seven laps to go before the bell invited the charge for the honours.
It was left for Mutai and the hard chasing Kisorio to decide gold and silver but the latter lost the top medal to the superior last gasp burst by his rival as the clocks returned 28:23.0 against 28:23.1.
"I’m disappointed for missing the Olympics but that is over. I have a number of marathons to focus on later in the year including deciding whether I will defend in New York but today, I felt good and I’m proud of defending my title," Mutai said.
Togom arrived in 28:27.1 for the third medal as Kipsang, who will carry his nation’s flag on August 12 during the men’s Olympics marathon race finishing just outside the medals in 28:41.3.
"This was part of my preparations for London since it was a good speed work out. It can be said that I’m a favourite for Olympics gold and this has made me focus even more. I saw the Olympics course and I have to train more on how to negotiate corners faster and run up the hills quicker for me to have a chance.
"Winning the Olympics in London will be a fitting memory to our late champion, Samuel Wanjiru and that is motivating my colleagues and myself to go for it since we do not want to surrender the title that was won by our fellow police officer," the Frankfurt and London champion who raced the second recognised fastest time at the distance of 2:03:44 in the former last year expressed.
Kabuu, who was snubbed by AK in January despite powering to the third fastest effort by a Kenyan female marathoner of 2:19:34 in Dubai on her debut, has still not given up on London.
After unleashing the blasters in the final 300 metres for good measure to complete a commanding victory in the women 12 and a half-lap race in 15:48.8, Kabuu announced she would be going for a ticket at 10,000m Trials that will run during the June 14 to 16 National Championships.
"I will go to the Pre Fontaine Classic in Eugene to get the time then return to chase a ticket. I still feel strong and I will try as hard as I can to return to the Olympics again after Beijing because the Games are the best thing an athlete can look for," she asserted.
Janet Kisa (15:50.0), Joyce Wanjiku (15:56.5) and Edith Chelimo (15:58.2) occupied the next three positions as Commonwealth 10,000m titleholder, Grace Momanyi (16:15.5) and the returning Olympics steeplechase fourth finisher, Ruth Bosibori (16:28.5) nestling in the fifth and sixth spots.
Day 2- Cheruiyot, Chepseba, Kiplangat on song
Ultimate distance runners were shunted aside as track specialists hogged the limelight as the meet concluded with the poster runner of the event, Vivian Cheruiyot, justifying her top billing.
Having raced to a world lead over 3000m in Doha last week, Cheruiyot hardly engaged second gear as she put paid to the charged Kabuu’s aspirations of adding the 1500m to the 5000m title she vacated.
Just like Doha, a mini rendition of the famed finishing power of the 'pocket rocket’ was enough to put daylight between her (4:06:06) and Kabuu (4:08:06) who had sounded out the double Daegu gold medallist on Friday when she succeeded her as the 5000m crown holder.
"I have not decided whether I will double at the Olympics but four years ago, I was sick in Beijing and I did not manage to win a medal and I was disappointed. I have won the World, Commonwealth, Africa, Diamond League and World Cross titles and this is the year I want to do my best and get what is missing, Olympic gold," Cheruiyot outlined.
The corresponding men’s event was a medley of distance specialists where World junior 3000m titleholder, Isaiah 'Chairman’ Kiplangat (3:38.07), prevailed over Athens 2004 steeplechase winner, Paul Koech (3:39.01) another world leader from Doha as Nicholas Kemboi (3:39.07) who competed at the Beijing Olympics filled the podium.
Renowned international circuit rabbit, Vickson Polonet (3:40:04), went all the way for fourth ahead of reigning Commonwealth, World Cup and African steeple winner, Richard Mateelong (3:41.02) who was content with fifth.
World Cross junior champion Geoffrey Kipsang ran the rule over a field oozing with class in the enthralling men 5000m race.
His charged breakaway with 350 metres to compel the former World junior 10,000m titleholder Josphat Bett to cede the challenge after the pair shadowed each other for much of the 12 and a half laps.
Kipsang won in 13:34.3 as Bett duly settled for the second medal (13:48.4) and Duncan Kipchirchir (13:48.4) did his reputation no harm by nicking bronze ahead of season runners such as 2008 African silver medallist, Isaac Songok (14:07.2/fifth) and Daegu Worlds runner Daniel Kipchirchir Komen (14:20.7/ninth).
Diamond League winner Nixon Chepseba also climbed down the race ladder to motor around the track in 1:45.6 to win the men two-lap event as he shapes for his second DL outing in Rome. Ishmael Kombich (1:45.4) and Timothy Sein (1:46.8) won silver and bronze.
Nelly Korir (2:04.4), Caroline Chepkwony (2:08.4), Julieta Arono (2:09.6) were the unfamiliar medallists in the women 800m in an event where there was a Jelimo shaped hole in the starting line-up.
With no established competitors in the women 10,000m, Ann Wabera (34:36.0) took the chance to shine by completing the win ahead of Dorcas Chepchirchir (34:41.0) and Josephine Wanjiku (34:47.6).
Philip Yego (8:34.4) and Jackline Chemwok (10:17.6) won the men and women 3000m steeple races that were stripped of all the Police top guns.
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF
Selected Results -
MEN - 100m 1 Simon Kimaru GSU 10.3 2 Brevan Simiyu NYZ 10.5 3 Alvin Wekesa GSU 10.7 4 Given Oduor RVP 10.8
200m 1 Given Oduor RWYS 22.2 2 George Kwoba PEU 22.2 3 John Kituu 21.6 4 Simon Kimaru GSU 21.7
400mn 1 Sylvester Kirwa RWY 47.2 2 Vincent Makori GSU 47.4 3 George Kwoba PEU 47.7 4 Newton Rono GSU 49.0
800m 1 Nixon Chepseba VIG 1:45.6 2 Ishmael Kombich RVP 1:45.4 3 Timothy Sein CST 1:46.8 4 Stephen Bett RVP 1:48.0 5 Victor Mengich ASTU 1:49.1 6 Robert Maritim EAST 1:49.4
1,500m 1 Isaiah Kiplangat VIG 3:38:07 2 Paul Koech WSTN 3:39:01 3 Nicholas Kemboi VIG 3:39:07 4 Nickson Polonet NYZ 3:40:04 5 Richard Matelong KPC 3:41:02 6 Cornelius Ndiwa TRAFFIC 3:41:08
5000m 1 Geoffrey Kipsang VIG 13:34.3 2 Josphat Bett CEN 13:35.5 3 Duncan Kipchirchir VIG 13:48.4 4 Andrew Lesuuda N/AREA 13:51.7 5 Isaac Songok PEU 14:07.2 6 Charles Mumo GSU 14:13.6 7 Benard Matheka CID 14:15.4 8 Simotwo Suleiman KPC 14:18.0 9 Komen Kipchirchir GSU 14:20.7 10 Andrew Githinji RVP 14:21.7
10,000m 1 Geoffrey Mutai VIG 28:23.0 2 Mathew Kisorio VIG 28:23.1 3 Nicholas Togo VIG 28:27.1 4 Wilson Kipsang NYZ 28:41.3 5 Not Listed 28:42.0 6 Louis Ndiema CENT 28:50.5 7 Kiprop Limo GUEST 29:00.5 8 Philemon Rono VIG 29:17.2 9 Franklin Lagat NRB 29:21.7 10 Hillary Kiptoo GUEST 29:52.3