Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo had to eat humble pie when she returned to competitive running on Friday, finishing second in the shorter 200 metres sprint at the second round of Athletics Kenya track and field meeting in Narok.
Jelimo could also not weather the 1,500m storm as she was forced to pull out with a lap to go as Helen Opili of Laikipia Air Base won.
More than 1,500 elite athletes participated, prompting AK’s PRO Peter Angwenyi to say it depicted Kenya’s rich history and talent.
The 26.7 seconds that Jelimo, the 2008 IAAF Golden League winner, clocked was however not bad time for a two-lap runner testing her speed. Edna Kwamboka (26.2), Jelimo’s Kenya Police team mate, won the race while Zipporah Nyasiguta (27.1) from Kisii was third.
Opili had to contend with a late charge from Carolyne Chepkoech, 16, the Africa Cross Country 6km champion, struck 4:30.1. Chepkoech was second in 4:35.5 and Nancy Gathure (4:36.3) third. Alice Aprot (4:43.90, fifth in the Cape Town Africa Cross Country, was fourth, ahead of Alice Waithera (4:44.6).
There was no World 800m record holder David Rudisha, however, to electrify the crowd in his home town as he is hibernating in Iten for high-performance training.
Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop ruled in the first heat of the 800m. Kiprop, who has earmarked the two-lap race as his event ahead of the first round of the Diamond League race in Doha, Qatar next month, won the first heat in a slow 1:50.5, beating Hosea Kandie (1:50.7) and Hillary Bon (1:51.5).
In the second heat, Joab Kinyor, the son of 2009 Boston Marathon champion Salina Kosgei, proved to be a chip off the old block. His 1:50.1 to win ahead of Eliud Ruto (1:50.9) and Isaac Kipketer (1:52.2) was nonetheless quite slow as Rudisha and Alfred Kirwa have run more than nine minutes faster than that.
Commonwealth champion Mark Mutai (48.1) easily won the 400m, slower than the 45.5 World Championship qualification mark. Pius Kipngetich (48.8) was second and Gibson Lendama (49.2) third.
Jane Onyangi (36:02.4) won the 10,000m ahead of Millicent Maina (36:32.3) and Zipporah Chebet (36:56.0) while home boy Gideon Ngatunyi (14:19.2) beat William Malel (14:24.4) and Richard Matelong (14:31.1) in the 5,000m.