Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mumias comes alive as elite athletes in town

By CHRIS MUSUMBA [email protected]

Mumias town takes centre stage as the fourth leg of the Athletics Kenya/National Bank track and field meeting gets underway on Friday.

There will be a blend of senior an junior athletes in action. Caroline Chepkoech, Alice Aprot and Esther Chemutai are some of the junior athletes lining up in Mumias while Asbel Kiprop and Joseph Ebuya will headline the seniors’ show.

Kiprop, who is the Olympic gold medallist in 1,500m will be running in the 800m race, while Ebuya, who is the former world cross country 12km champion, will be running in the 5,000m race.

Noah Ngeny, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) athletics team coach, said he has a strong battalion ready to stop any aggression.

“I have carried top men here to see how good they are. It is important that athletes come out from their recess and start competing because time is running out,” he said.

Jackpot winner

The KDF team has in its line up John Chepkwony, the jackpot winner in the 12km cross country, who will be racing in the 5,000m which has also attracted World 10,000m champion Dennis Masai.

However, Vincent Chepkok will be seeking to enhance his speed as he takes on the 1,500m distance. In the women's race, local favourite will be sprinter Rose Indimuli.

Though she represents the KDF, she hails from the western region and will be the girl to beat in the 100m and 200m.

To check her dominating effect at the Mumias Sports complex will be Millicent Ndolo of Kenya Police.

Athletics Kenya (AK) public relations officer, Peter Angwenyi, said that a 25-member team to the Africa Athletics Championship will be named after the two-day meeting.

National Bank of Kenya are sponsoring the junior team to a tune of Sh15 million this year. This is in addition to the Sh15 million they have set aside for the senior track and field.

Ugandans will participate

“National Bank of Kenya, who are the official sponsors of the AK track and field weekend series, will gave out more than Sh300,000 as prize money during the two-day championships,” said Angwenyi.

AK has lined up 34 track and field events where more than 1,500 athletes are expected to compete. Winners in each event will be rewarded by National Bank.

At least 15 Uganda athletes led by World Junior 800m bronze medallist will take part in the meeting as they seek to register good times to qualify for the August World championship in Daegu, Korea.

Doris Chesang, who finished second in women’s 3,000m steeplechase in Kisii, Agnes Aneno, third in 200m are the other athletes entered for the two-day event.

Lack of “quality competition” in Uganda has forced its athletes to come to Kenya where they intend to hit the World qualifying marks.

But Kenyans will be watching out the 800m race where Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo will be lining up in the two-lap race.

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