Barnabas Kosgei after winning the men's 12km race at the Kenya Armed Forces Championships in Nairobi (Omulo Okoth) © Copyright
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Kosgei, Chepkirui capture Kenyan Armed Forces Cross Country titles

Nairobi, Kenya  23yearold Barnabas Koskei staged a last kilometre sprint to beat John Cheruiyot Korir and win the Kenya Armed Forces Championships in the capital on Saturday.

Linet Chepkirui, 25, who won the Lagos Half-Marathon last year in Nigeria, beat the women to claim the title. Sammy Karanja won the men's 30km race while Esther Wanjiku claimed the women's title.

Men's race -

Koskei, the bronze medallist in the junior race at the 2004 World Cross Country Championships in Brussels, ran a tactical race, not showing his ambitions until the final kilometre when he burst past the more experienced Korir to win in 35:58.6.

It was Korir, Abraham Cherono, Mark Kiptoo and Kimutai Kiplimo who controlled the pace as they exchanged the lead from lap to lap. Koskei always maintained a strategic position behind them until the last lap when Cherono, Kiplimo and Kiptoo appeared to back pedal.

Korir shot to the lead and might have thought he had the title under his belt, but Koskei had other ideas. On reaching the stretch that ended at the finish, he breezed past Korir and won the race.

Held inside the Kahawa Garrison, a military barracks 10 kilometres to the eastern side of Nairobi under a scorching sun, it was a big relief for athletics fans who have watched in disbelief as Athletics Kenya were forced to cancel some meetings due to political violence  that has rocked the hitherto peaceful east African nation following the fiercely-disputed presidential poll of 27 December.

"My training was interrupted at Kaptagat (near Eldoret) when violence broke out, but I am happy to have won although I did not expect to. I sprinted to victory when I reaslised Korir ran out of steam," said Koskei.

In the 30 kilometre race held early morning, Sammy Karanja won in 1:27:40 ahead of David Ruto (1:29:33) and Christopher Kemboi (1:29:40).

Women's race -

Linet Chepkirui and Doris Changeiywo went head to head until the finish when the former won in 27:27.0. Changeiywo was second in 27:30.2 with Irene Kwambai third in 27:32.7.

The race was not as competitive as the men's as it just followed a single file along the course. Changeiywo took the lead midstream the race but only for a single lap before Chepkirui regained the lead and held onto it until the finish.

Omulo Okoth (The Standard) for IAAF

Leading results:

MEN (12 km):
 1. Barnabas Koskei  35:58.6
 2. John C. Korir    36:03.8
 3. Mark Kiptoo      36:12.4
 4. Abraham Cherono  36:18.3
 5. Kimutai Kiplimo  36:20.6
 6. Vincent Kiprop   36:37.8
 7. Linus Chumba     36:43.0
 8. Shadrack Koskei  36:45.6
 9. Patrick Nthiwa   36:53.4
10. Gideon Gathimba  36:55.8

30 km:
 1. Sammy Karanja     1:27:40
 2. David Ruto        1:29:33
 3. Chrtopher Kemboi  1:29:40
 4. Onesmus Kilongo   1:29:53
 5. George Ndungu     1:30:44
 6. David Nthiga      1:31:02
 7. Anthony Wambugu   1:32:35
 8. Johnson Mururi    1:32:41
 9. David Musyoki     1:32:48
 10. Peter Ndirangu

WOMEN (8 km):
 1. Linet Chepkirui     27:27.0
 2. Doris Changeiywo    27:30.2
 3. Irene Kwambai       27:32.7
 4. Peninah Arusei      27:36.6
 5. Gladys Cherono      27:52.7
 6. Sharon Chemutai     28:07.0
 7. Angeline Mutheu     28:30.5
 8. Monica Otwori       28:56.4
 9. Irene Lemika        29:05.0
10. Winfridah Kwamboka  29:18.0

30 km:
 1. Esther Wanjiku   1:50:44
 2. Everline Moraa   1:52:00
 3. Ruth Kalunda     1:58:44
 4. Esther Wanjiru   2:01:55
 5. Mungai Mwangangi 2:05:22
 6. Jackline Mukiti  2:07:04
 7. Oliver Magoma    2:10:22
 8. Ayuma Jackline   2:18:19
 9. Jane Edome       2:47:21
10. Rhoda Wambui     2:50:14