The senior women’s 8km team for the Africa Cross Country is still strong without World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet and 2013 Rotterdam Marathon champion Jemima Jelagat.
Team manager Francis Afundi said their replacements, Alice Aprot from Central Rift and Edith Chelimo of Kenya Police, are capable of pulling surprises at the Africa Cross Country Championships set for Sunday in Kampala, Uganda.
Aprot and Chelimo finished seventh and eight during the National Cross Country Championships. “Chebet and Jelagat opted out and in fact have not been training with the team. Aprot and Chelimo have blended well with the rest and all is good,” said Afundi from their training base in Ngong.
Chebet and Jelagat finished third and fourth during the national championships. Chebet settled for bronze during the last edition of the Africa Cross in Cape Town but went on to recapture the World Cross title last year in Poland. It’s at the same ground where she won the diadem in 2010.
Aprot and Chelimo are both seasoned with Chelimo having won the 2011 Bath Half Marathon. Chelimo also finished second at last year Kass International Marathon.
“The coaches are doing a wonderful job with the athletes and morale is high in the camp,” said Afundi, who was busy sorting out the team’s ceremonial outfits yesterday ahead of departure on Friday to Kampala.
Reigning World Cross Junior silver medalist Leonard Barsaton has been name the team’s captain while his deputy is the current World Cross junior champion Faith Chepng’etich.
Both Barsaton and Chepng’etich have graduated to senior level this year. While Cheng’etich won her maiden national cross senior title, Barsaton finished second behind Bedan Karoki, who opted out of the team.
Squad: Senior men’s 12km: Leonard Barsaton, Philip Kiprono, Cornelius Kangogo, Solomon Kirwa, Philemon Rono, Joseph Kitur.
Senior women’s 8km: Faith Chepng’etich, Peris Chepchirchir, Janet Kisa, Beatrice Mutai,, Alice Aprot, Edith Chelimo.
Junior men’s 8km: Moses Mukono, Emmanuel Bett, Andrew Loret, John Langat, Elvis Cheboi, Hillary Langat. Junior women’s 6km: Agnes Jebet , Lilian Kasait, Nancy Nzisa, Mbithe Nzisa, Rosefline Chepngetich, Joyce Chemnung.
Management: Francis Afundi (team manager); David Leting (Assistant team manager/ coach), Cornelius Manyala (coach), Gregory Kilonzo (coach), Daniel Korir (physio).