Chepng'etich to grace last leg of AK Cross country series

Sotik event will pave way for institutions and regional athletics championships.

Thursday January 7 2016

Kenya's Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon celebrates after winning the women's one mile event during the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on September 11, 2015. Chepng’etich will grace the final leg of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series on January 9, 2016 at Kabianga University, Sotik.  PHOTO | EMMANUEL DUNAND | AFP

Kenya's Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon celebrates after winning the women's one mile event during the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on September 11, 2015. Chepng’etich will grace the final leg of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series on January 9, 2016 at Kabianga University, Sotik. PHOTO | EMMANUEL DUNAND | AFP 

By AYUMBA AYODI
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National Cross Country champion Faith Chepng’etich will grace the final leg of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series on January 9, 2016 at Kabianga University, Sotik.

Sotik is the last of the seven legs of the AK Series that saw athletes traverse the country as they prepare for Rio Olympics.

The event will pave way for institutions and regional athletics championships before athletes head for the National Cross Country Championships on February 13 in Nairobi where AK will select a national team to represent Kenya at the March 12, 2016 Africa Cross Country Championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

“We hope to send a strong team to Yaounde to defend all the individual and team titles,” said AK public relations officer Evans Bosire.
“Our coaches have been monitoring the athletes from the series,” he added.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Cross country is up on January 15 in Thika followed by Kenya National Police Service Cross Country January 16, Prisons Service January 23, and all the other Regions January 30.

(READ: Chepng'etich trains sights on Olympic gold)

Sotik will be first race for Chepng’etich, who is World 1,500m silver medallist before she starts her preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The 21-year-old Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion said she plans to go one better at the Olympics after finishing second behind Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing in August last year.

Chepng’etich, who retained her IAAF World Cross Junior title in 2013 Bydgoszcz, Poland, before scaling the ladder to claim the Africa Cross senior women’s title in 2014 in Uganda, started her 2015 season well, winning the national cross title in February 2015 to be selected in the national team.

SUSTAINED INJURY

However, Chepng’etich would sustain a metatarsal injury and was flown to the Netherlands for a treatment hence missing last year’s IAAF World Championships.

“I am in good shape now as I start my season in Sotik. Hope all goes well,” said Chepng’etich.

In Sotik, Chepnng’etich will battle it out with winners from different legs likes of Sheila Chepkurui, who prevailed in Nairobi, Nyahururu and Machakos, Sheila Chepkirui (Embu), Pualine Korikwing (Iten) and Naomi Chebet (Kapsokwony).

The 2013 World Cross champion Japheth Korir will also start his season in Sotik where he is expected to face stiff challenge from Dominic Kiptarus, Cleophas Ng’etich and Emmanuel Kipsang who won in Nairobi, Embu, Nyahururu and Iten legs respectively.

Charles Chemengich, who won in Kapsokwony also hopes for a brace in Sotik.

The quartet of Sandra Chebet, her sister Emily Chebet, Alfred Ng’eno and Andrew Lorot will be leaving nothing to chance as they seek their last victories as juniors before moving up to the senior ranks later in the season.

The bulk of the participants will come from Kericho, Keringet, Olenguruone, Bomet, Kuresoi, Nakuru as well as institutions like Police Service, Prisons and KDF.

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