Commonwealth Games 800 metres silver medallist Richard Kiplagat won his speciality at the Administration Police Athletics Championships on Thursday to set his sights on qualifying for this year’s London Olympic Games.
Also in top form to claim victory in men’s 1,500m was Bethwel Birgen, fresh from finishing third in the Diamond League in Doha behind Commonwealth Games champion Silas Kiplagat and Olympic and World champion Asbel Kiprop.
The 26-year-old Kiplagat from Kaptagat stayed behind Isaac Kiberenge and Peter Langat and only waited until 200m to go before stepping on the gas pedal at Nyayo National Stadium.
Kiplagat, just recovered from a left calf injury, triumphed in one minute, 46.3 seconds, beating Kiberenge (1:43.0) and Langat (1:47.8) and pacesetter Geoffrey Ruto (1:48.6).
“I am gald that I have fully recovered from the calf injury and I now want to consolidate my energies in qualifying for the Olympic Games,” said Kiplagat.
With personal bests of 1:44.77 (Outdoor) and 1:46.33 (Indoor), Kiplagat intends to compete at Roma’s Diamond League next Thursday then focus on the June 23 Olympic trials.
Birgen, 23, boasted the season’s fastest time (3:34.65) going into World Indoor, clocked 3:36.6 to seize the metric race victory, beating David Kosgei (14:15.7) and Kiprotich Kigen (14:21.2).
“I will be headed for the Prefontaine Classic due June 2 before targeting the Olympic trials,” said Birgen (PB 3:31.17), winner of Germany Indoor meet.
Last year’s National Championships silver medallist Dorcas Chepkemoi (PB 2:06.00) won the 800m in 2:08.0, ahead of Beatrice Chepkoech (2:09.0) and Chepngeno Lagat (2:09.3).
“I am slowly getting my act right as I head for the national and Olympic trials,” said Chepkemoi, 19.
Peninah Kigen, who was late to defend her 5,000m title a day before, had a gun-to-tape performance while clocking 35:17.5 in the 10,000m.
Kigen, ninth in 2012 Lisbon Half Marathon, second in 2012 Berlin Half Marathon and sixth in 2011 New Delhi Half Marathon, lapped second- and third-placed Jackline Wanja (36:41.0) and Mary Jepchumba (36:49.3), respectively, in the final lap.
Fresh from winning the 5,000m title, Susan Cheriotich went for a double, dominating the 1,500m race to win in 14:33.8 ahead of Beth Wanjiru (4:47.6) and Nancy Chemtai (4:49.0).