Team Kenya leaders Cleophas Ng’etich and Alice Aprot are confident of another emphatic victory when the third Africa Cross Country Championships go down on Saturday in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Team captain Ng’etich is making his international debut while his deputy, Aprot, will be on her fourth outing for Kenya at the championships.
Kenya swept all individual and team titles during the 2014 Africa Cross Country Championships in Kampala where senior men and women completed a podium sweep.
Leonard Barsaton, who won silver at the 2013 World cross junior, and 2013 World junior gold medallist Faith Chepng’etich graduated to senior ranks in style, guiding their colleagues to a clean sweep of the podium.
The buoyant Team Kenya left the country early Wednesday for the West African country.
Ng’etich noted that despite the withdrawal of three top finishers’ at the National Cross Country, the men’s team is still strong.
“The country boosts of rich depth in cross country and this gives a chance to upcoming athletes like me to showcase our talent,” said Ng’etich, adding that they have benefited a lot from the high altitude training for the last three weeks in Kigari, Embu.
Ng’etich might have finished eighth at the National Cross but the Rongai Athletics Club-based athlete has had a good cross season, bouncing back from a fifth-place finish in Nairobi to win men’s 10km races in Embu and Nyahururu before finishing sixth in Machakos.
“I had a problem with my hip but I am back,” said Ng’etich, who will later turn his focus in securing a slot in 5,000m at the on Africa Championships and Rio Olympics.
OUT WITH INJURY
Aprot, 22, who missed the World Cross Country Championships last year with a recurrent hip injury, is eyeing nothing short of victory after falling short in the last four editions.
Aprot, who won her maiden National Cross 10km title on February 13, finished fifth in 2011. She claimed bronze in 2014 in Uganda.
Aprot has been in tremendous form this season, after winning the African Games 10,000m gold before settling for bronze in 5,000m in Congo, Brazzaville.
“Our good preparations give us confidence,” said the younger sister of 2008 World Cross Country champion Joseph Ebuya. “Ethiopians and Ugandans will be a challenge to us but we know their tactics. I can’t say I’m going to win but I am confidence of a good show.”
Others in men’s team are the 2014 Marrakech 10km race winner Charles Mneria, Philip Langat, who was placed 12th at the 2015 World Cross, James Rugari, Geoffrey Koech and Nicodemus Kipkurgat.
Beatrice Mutai, Pauline Kaveke, Sheila Chepkirui, Daisy Jepkemei and Nancy Nzisa complete the senior women’s 10km list for Yaoundé.
Junior Women: - Sandra Chebet, Mirriam Cherop, Lucy Cheruiyot, Gloria Kite, Winfred Mbithe, Lilian Kasait
Senior Women: - Alice Aprot, Beatrice Mutai, Sheila Chepkurui, Daisy Jepkemei, Pauline Kaveke, Nancy Nzisa
Junior Men: - Nickson Kiplangat, Andrew Lorot, Isaac Kipsang, Willy Kwemoi, Ronald Kiprotich, Anthony Kiptoo
Senior Men;- Charles Mneria, Philip Langat, James Rugari, Geoffrey Koech, Cleophas Ng’etich, Nicodemus Kipkurgat