World marathon champion Luke Kibet leads Daniel Too in the 10,000m at the Kenya Prisons champs. Kibet won the race. (Elias Makori) © Copyright
General News 31 May 2009 – Nairobi, Kenya

Kibet takes 10,000m title while Wasike steals the spotlight at Kenyan Prisons champs

Nairobi, KenyaJust as was the case at the recent Kenya Armed Forces National Athletics Championships in Nairobi, sprinters provided the rare centre of attraction as the country’s other track and field giants, the Kenya Prisons Service, held their national championships at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi at the weekend.

With four victories Wasike keeps busy

With Kenya’s traditional pedigree in distance running jealously guarded, Florence Wasike maintained her consistency in the sprints at the weekend’s Prisons meet, winning the 100m and 200m double before adding the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles double to her collection at the two-day meet.

As though that was not enough, the indefatigable Wasike, silver medallist in the Heptathlon at the African Athletics Championships in Addis Ababa last year, took silvers in the 400m and the long jump at the prisons meet.

Indications are that Kenya could be sending a larger contingent that includes more sprinters than before, to Berlin if the recent enthusiasm on the track is anything to go by.

Wasike clocked 12.0 and 25.2 in the 100m and 200m and was timed at 15.0 and 59.2 in the hurdles.

Bereft of international exposure on the Grand Prix circuit and lacking a high profile management team behind her, Wasike now wants Athletics Kenya to enter her in a few races on the European circuit to attempt the qualifying marks for Berlin and expose her to top-notch competition.

“I’m happy with my early season form and I’m targeting making my first appearance at the world championships in the 400 metres hurdles. That’s why I appeal to AK (Athletics Kenya) to register me in races in Europe next month so that I can chase the qualifying time,” Wasike said.

5000/10,000m double for Wangui

The Kenya Prisons Service has traditionally been the breeding ground for Kenya’s top women world beaters with its enviable production line including world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba and her fellow marathon greats Susan Chepkemei, Margaret Okayo and this year’s Boston Marathon champion Salina Kosgei.

The tradition is still very much alive as was witnessed at the weekend when another promising upstart, Pauline Wangui, clinched the 5000m and 10,000m double against the backdrop of star-studded fields that included Chepkemei, who is struggling to re-emerge after the expiry of her recent ban, in the 10,000m, with Ndereba and Kosgei competing in the 5,000m.

“I want to follow in the footsteps of Catherine, who has a great name and track record in the Prisons Service. My focus is now on the national championships and trials for Berlin,” said Wangui who clocked 16:20.8 and 33:49.5.

Ndereba and Kosgei finished fourth and sixth in the 5,000m.

Then there was a Kenya Prisons’ record in the 1500m where Tabitha Wambui ran 4:18.0 for the Prisons Staff Training College team – two seconds inside the previous record - to win the race ahead of Coast’s Jane Mwikali (4:22.7) and Prisons Headquarters’ Agnes Katunge (4:24.6).

The men’s competition saw another sprints double via Thomas Musembi who struck gold in the 200m (21.0) and 400m (46.3).

Kibet eyeing possible 10,000m spot for Berlin

But it was that man, Luke Kibet, again, that was the talk of town.

Running for the Prisons Headquarters team in the 10,000m final Kibet, the World Marathon champion, edged out Rift Valley Province’s Jospeh Birech in a dramatic finish, the winner timed at 28:52.8 and the runner up just 0.2 seconds behind.

Kibet tore apart a brilliant field in the Kenya Prisons Cross Country championships early in the year but lost shape, failing to deliver at the London Marathon.

Picked as a reserve in Kenya’s Marathon team to the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, for a possible defence of his title, Kibet’s fans hope that the 26-year-old will bounce back on the streets of Berlin, if his showing at the weekend can be relied upon.

But the man who won the world gold in Osaka two years ago spoke of an attempt to make outright qualification for the Kenyan party to Berlin by qualifying in the 10,000m rather than wait for the marathon lottery.

"Being in the marathon reserve team does not guarantee me a place in the national team to Berlin so I will try to qualify through the 10,000m,” the Prisons officer said. “I didn’t expect to win the (Prisons 10,000m) race, though, as I approached it as part of my training.”

Kibet has the small matter of the national championships to deal with in the end of June before plunging into Kenya’s traditionally fiercely competitive national trials for Berlin in the end of July.

Elias Makori for the IAAF

Selected results from the Kenya Prisons National Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Saturday:

100m: 1. Stephen Baraza (RVP) 10.5, 2. Thomas Musembi (CEN) 10.6, 3. Philip Nguono (PHQ) 10.7
200m: 1. Thomas Musembi (CEN) 21.0, 2. Philip Nguono (PHQ) 21.2, 3. Stephen Baraza (RVP) 21.3
400m: 1. Thomas Musembi (CEN) 46.3, 2. Vincent Koskei (NYZ) 46.5, 3. Moses Kertich (WES) 47.4
400m Hurdles: 1. Vincent Koskei (NYZ) 51.5, 2. Dennis Kemei (CST) 55.0, 3. Banjamin Kimaiyo (PSTC) 57.0
800m: 1. Reuben Bett (PHQ) 1:47.6, 2. Edwin Kiprop (CEN) 1:47.9, 3. Isaac Kipketer (CEN) 1:48.2
1500m: 1. Kibet Barngetuny (CST) 3:44.3, 2. Bernard Bett (PSTC) 3:44.6, 3. Samson Losiamboi (RVP) 3:47.0.
5000m:1. Jonathan Komen (RVP) 13:42.0, 2. John Mwangangi (EST) 13:44.5, 3. Peter Koskei (CEN) 13:46.2.
10,000M: 1. Luke Kibet (PHQ) 28:52.8, 2. Joseph Birech (RVP) 28:53.0, 3. Daniel Too (NBI) 28:59.6. 3,000m steeplechase: 1. Patrick Langat (PHQ) 8:39.6, 2. Michael Bor (PSTC) 8:50.0, 3. Joseph Yegon (RVP) 9:00.0.
10km Walk: 1. Silvanus Wekesa (RVP) 42:17.4, 2. Eric Shikuku (GST) 43:18.1, 3. Peter Koskei (CEN) 13:46.2.

100m: 1. Florence Wasike (NYZ) 12.0, 2. Zipporah Ratemo (CST) 12.2, 3. Damaris Mbula (EST) 12.4.
100m Hurdles, 1. Florence Wasike (NYZ) 15.0, 2. Jemimah Bosire (N/EST) 18.1, 3. Monicah Mengich (PSTC) 19.5.
200m: 1. Florence Wasike (NYZ) 25.2, 2. Zipporah Ratemo (CST) 25.7, 3. Regina Mulatya (WST) 26.2.
400m: 1. Annet Mwanzi (N/EST) 54.7, 2. Florence Wasike (NYZ) 55.0, 3. Pamela Cheuno (RVP) 58.5.
400m Hurdles: 1. Florence Wasike (NYZ) 59.2, 2. Jemimah Bosire (N/EST) 68.1, 3. Varnice Ogoti (PSTC) 69.9.
800m: 1.Annet Mwanzi (N/EST) 2:07.8, 2. Tabitha Wambui (PSTC) 2:08.4, 3. Jane Mwikali (CST) 2:11.0.
1500m: 1. Tabitha Wambui (PSTC) 4:18.0*, 2. Jane Mwikali (CST) 4:22.7, 3. Agnes Katunge (PHQ) 4:24.6.
5000m: 1. Pauline Wangui (PSTC) 16:20.8, 2. Agnes Katunge (PHQ) 16:26.0, 3. Caroline Kwambai (CST) 16:39.5.
10,000m: 1. Pauline Wangui (PSTC) 33:49.5, 2. Pamela Lisoreng (GST) 34:36.1, 3. Alice Mogire (PSTC) 34:51.1.
3,000m S/chase: 1. Jane Murage (EST) 10:13.8, 2. Pamela Lisoreng (GST) 10:28.1, 3. Nancy Nzila (GST) 10:42.0.
10km Walk: 1. Esther Murungi (GST) 58:12.2, 2. Rose Chepkosgei (NBI) 59:04.6, 3. Priscilla Morogo (RVP) 62:23.7.

Note: *- New Prisons record
LEGEND: PSTC (Prisons Staff Training College), NYZ (Nyanza), WST (Western),
CEN (Central), RVP (Rift Valley), NBI (Nairobi), GST (Guest), EST
(Eastern), CST (Coast) and N/EST (North Eastern).