Augustine Choge en route to his win at the 2006 Kenyan Cross Country Championships (Omulo Okoth) © Copyright
General News Nairobi, Kenya

Upsets highlight Kenyan Cross Country Championships

World 5,000m champion Benjamin Limo and Olympics 5,000m silver medallist, Isabella Ochichi, were among the top stars beaten by relatively younger athletes at the Kenya National Cross Country Championships – IAAF Permit - on Saturday.

Limo, who won the world title in Finland last year, was beaten to fourth position in the senior men’s 4Km race by World junior cross country champion, Augustine Choge, who won in 9:30.1. Commonwealth 5,000m champion and a former World 10Km world record holder, Sammy Kipketer, was fifth in 9:42.1.

Choge ‘ready’ for Commonwealth/World Cross double

Choge, who last week earned a place in the Commonwealth Games team after winning the national 5,000m title, won decisively, ahead of his training partner and World 4Km bronze medallist, Isaac Songok.

“I am ready to double in Commonwealth Games and World Cross Country Championships if given the chance,” he declared. His coach, Bro. Colm O'Connell, said Choge is ready to double because the 5000m race at the Commonwealth Games is 10 days before the World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka.

Athletics Kenya Secretary General, David Okeyo, agreed that Choge deserved to be in the team.

“We can’t afford not to have such athletes like Limo and Choge in the team because they have displayed very good form,” Okeyo told reporters.

Emerging juniors making their mark

Emerging juniors now graduating into senior categories stamped their authority on a bright sunny day with African junior double champion, Moses Masai, who is still 19 winning the senior men’s 12Km race in 31:15.4 and Hosea Macharnyang, who is a consistent team member of Kenya’s junior cross country team, taking second place in 31:17.0. Simon Arusei was third in 31:23.4 ahead of Commonwealth 3,000m Steeplechase bronze medallist, Abraham Cherono, who clocked 31:38.7.

John Kibowen, a former two-time senior men’s 4Km World champion, was fifth in 31:48.6 and Charles Kamathi, the 2001 World 10,000m champion, sixth in 31:51.0.

Masai, 19, who won both 5,000m and 10,000m at the African Junior Championships in Tunis, Tunisia, last year, took charge from the second lap, with Cherono, Macharnyang and Arusei and did not let go.

“I was prepared well and I was not surprised that I won it. Now I want to train for the trials to fight for a place in the Kenyan team for the World Championships,” Masai told reporters.

The top 30 athletes in each event will take part in the Kenyan trials on 4 March from where the team to represent the East African nation at the World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on 1-2 April will be named.

Ochichi, who is also the World cross country 4Km bronze medallist, finished in seventh place in the race, well behind former World 3,000m champion, Beatrice Chepchumba, who won in 10:58.5. Prisca Jepleting, who is a former World cross country junior silver medallist, was second in 10:58.7 and former two-time World cross country junior champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, third in 11:02.0.

World junior silver medallist, Veronica Nyaruai, won the junior 6Km race in 22:51.8 with Pauline Korkwang second in 22:57.2. Former three-time World champion, Edith Masai, former world 10,000m champion, Sally Barsosio and former London Marathon champion, Margaret Okayo, were 18th, 21st and 46th respectively in the senior women’as 8Km race. The winner was Everlyne Wambui, who clocked 23:25.6. World Half-Marathon silver medallist, Susan Chepkemei, was fourth in 23:38.4.

World men’s junior bronze medallist, Ndiwa Mangata, finished third in the 8Km race in 20:37.6, behind the winner Muinde Matheka (20:32) and Thomas Longosiwa (20:34.1).

Omulo Okoth (The Standard) for the IAAF

Leading Results:
4KM Senior:
1. Augustine Choge 9:30.1
2. Isaac Songok 9:32.2
3. Edwin Soi 9:40.3
4. Benjamin Limo 9:41.6
5. Sammy Kipketer 9:42.1
6. Yusuf Biwott 9:43.2

8KM Junior:
1. Muinde Matheka 20:32.0
2. Thomas Longosiwa 20:34.1
3. Ndiwa Mangata 20:37.6
4. Lewis Nyariki 20:38.2
5. Samuel Ndung’u 20:38.5
6. Gideon Ngatunyi 20:47.8

12KM Senior:
1. Moses Masai 31:15.4
2. Hosea Macharnyang’ 31:17.0
3. Simon Arusei 31:23.4
4. Abraham Cherono 31:38.7
5. 5. John Kibowen 31:48.6
6. Charles Kamathi 31:51.0

4KM Senior:
1. Beatrice Chepchumba 10:58.5
2. Prisca Jepleting 10:58.7
3. Vivian Cheruiyot 11:02.0
4. Beatrice Ruto 11:03.0
5. Rose Cheruiyot 11:03.2
6. Nancy Wambui 11:03.4

6KM Junior:
1. Veronica Nyaruai 22:51.8
2. Pauline Korkwang 22:57.2
3. Pamela Lisoreng 23:20.1
4. Mercy Koskei 23:21.7
5. Emily Chepkirui 23:22.5
6. Mercy Wanjiru 23:28.3

8KM Senior:
1. Everlyne Wambui 23:25.6
2. Alice Chelangat 23:27.2
3. Caroline Kwambai 23:31.2
4. Susan Chepkemei 23:38.4
5. Faith Chemtai 23:39.1
6. Consolata Chemtai 23:47.8