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Talel, Malot star in Nairobi cross country championships

Peter Njenga for the IAAF
16 February, 2002, Nairobi—Despite humid and dry weather conditions, Wilberforce Talel,  fifth in 2000 world cross country championships, emerged the runaway winner of the Nairobi Province Cross Championships today as Leah Malot showed tremendous form in the women’s shorter race. 

Talel who was sixth in last month’s Great Rift Cross Country in Eldoret trains in Ngong Hills 20km south of the capital Nairobi, preferred by many of Kenya’s top distance runners including Paul Tergat for high altitude conditioning, clocked 32 minutes 54 seconds over the 11km flat course followed by Harun Toroitich in 32:58.

Injury has curtailed his activities since Vilamoura, Portugal in 2000 when his career appeared ready for a take-off. But yesterday he confidently said he is fully recovered for the big battle next Saturday when Kenya will select the 36 athletes who will compete in the Dublin World Cross Country Championships next month.

In his own words it will not be easy.  “You can never tell about Ngong (racecourse venue for the nationals) because everybody will be there. I will be extremely happy to make the Kenyan team,” said Talel, who stole the national limelight two years ago after finishing second in the nationals.  The Nairobi meeting and several others held in various parts of Kenya today were the penultimate rounds before the nationals, also counting as an IAAF permit Meet on Saturday.

Leah Malot who was second in the annual Chepkoilel Campus 4km race  in Eldoret last November before winning an international cross in the same month in Portugal won the 4km women’s race ahead of Beatrice Omwanza in 12:14.

“Since winning in Portugal I have stepped up my training programme hoping I will qualify to run in Dublin,” said Malot who at 31 is one of the few Kenyan women who have defied time and tradition to remain in the sport.  She is dreading the Kenyan Prisons trio of Catherine Ndereva, Susan Chepkemei and Margaret Okayo who are world class runners in their own right when it comes to marathon running.

Another woman who did well today was experienced Jane Omoro, winner of the 8km senior women’s race in 24:45, followed by Chepkorir Ayabei (24:46) and Winfrida Kwamboka (25:52).

Leading results: Senior men 8km: 1. Wilberforce Talel, 32:54; 2. Harun Toroitich, 32:58; 3. Daniel Kirui, 33:14; 4. Yusuf Songoka, 33:32; 5. Wilson Onsare, 33:44; 6. Charuiyot Kimei, 33:46; 7. Geoffrey Kiplagat, 34:2; 8.  Laban Chege, 34:22; 9. Paul Korir, 34:28; 10. Fred Omogaka, 34:39.  Senior men 4km: 1. Lord Torome, 1:24; 2. Paul Koech, 10:26; 3. Bonface Kiprotich, 10:29; 4. John Thuo, 10:31; 5. Isaac Macharia, 10:33; 6. Stephen Njenga, 1:41; 7. Titus Limo, 10:50; 8. Kipkoech Kenduiwa, 10:54; 9. Victor Warau, 10:54; 10. Josphat Rotich, 10:54.

Senior women 8km: 1. Jane Omoro, 24:45; 2. Chepkorir Ayabei, 24:46; 3.  Winfridah Kwamboka, 25:52; 4. Lilian Chelimo, 26:06; 5. Irene Kwambai, 26:39; 6. Hellen Kimaiyo, 27:08; 7. Grace Chebet, 27:35; 8. Chepkurui Kaisang, 28:01; 9. Lilian Kimani, 29:2; 10. Alice Waruguru, 29:02.  Junior women 6km: 1.Teresia Omato, 19:12; 2. Maria Chepkosgei, 19:24; 3.

Emma Onchiri, 19:39; 4. Sally Lagat, 19:53; 5. Linet Chepkomor, 20:19; 6.

Caren Ochako, 20:37; 7. Pauline Wangui, 20:56; 8. Esther Chemutai, 20:57; 9.

Carole Tomno, 20:57; 10. Everlyn Mose, 21:7.