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.”
Priscah Jepleting Cherono finally bagged her first ever Discovery Kenya Cross Country title when she won the senior women race in style while the up-and-coming roadrunner Geoffrey Kipsang discovered that he can also do it in Cross Country, as the annual event held in Eldoret, Kenya, on Sunday (23) marked its 20th anniversary.
Jepleting, the 2006 World Cross Country short course silver medallist, at first looked out of contention as World Cross Country junior champion Mercy Cherono, now in senior level and Turin marathon champion Prisca Jeptoo battled for leadership in the major part of the 8Km race.
First it was Cherono who broke away in the second lap and led for four kilometres before Jeptoo caught her in the sixth kilometre and briefly led before Jepleting came back forcefully and took the lead with a kilometre to go and won in 27:48.1 without any pressure from second placed Jeptoo (27:49.6). Cherono paid dearly for breaking too early by finishing fourth in 28:01.7 after losing 3rd place to two time World Cross junior winner Viola Kibiwott (27:57.5) with about 200m to go.
Frida Domongole was fifth in 28:19.5 and the sixth spot went to Regina Cherotich in 28:21.0.
Jepleting did not hide her delight of winning saying it boosts her bid to make team to the World Cross Country in Punta Umbria, Spain. Olympic Steeplechase silver medallist Eunice Jepkorir finished 12th in 29:01.14.
The senior men's 12Km race held under windy condition witnessed a battle between Geoffrey Kipsang and Ismael Rashid of Qatar until Kipsang made a decisive move with a kilometer to go. Kipsang won in 36:14.4 with Rashid coming second in 36:35.3.
“I will now fight for a place in the team to World Cross Country because I feel I am in good form,”, said Kipsang, 21, whose only other win was the Mara Half Marathon last year.
The senior men 12km race’s start line had such elite names such as Olympic 1500m gold medallist Asbel Kiprop and multi London Marathon winner Martin Lel. Whereas Kiprop led for three laps before dropping out, Lel remained tucked inside the 387 starters to the end and finished 33rd in 38:13.3.
The World Cross junior silver medallist Purity Cherotich was in a class of her own in the junior women's 6Km race which she won in 20:52.3 without breaking a sweat.
Caroline Jerotich was second in 20:46.3 ahead of Gladys Chesir (21:10.6) and fourth was Winnie Chepkemoi 21:16.9. Esther Gakuri and Eunice Jebichii were fifth and sixth in 21:28.4 and 21:34.7. Another Kenyan representative in last year’s World Cross in Poland, Alice Aprot, a sister of World Cross Country champion Joseph Ebuya, finished 11th in 21:41.7
The junior men's race that attracted 500 runners was exclusively ran by up coming athletes seeking to make it big on the national and international scene.
David Macharia (Daily Nation) for the IAAF
Leading Results -
Senior Men 12km: 1 Geoffrey Kipsang 36:14.4 2 Ismael Rashid 36:35.3 3 Albert Matebor 36:44.2 4 Stephen Kiprotich 36:52.8 5 Philip Kimutai 36:52.9 6 Lewis Korir 37:04.2