An array of international stars will grace the Kenya Prisons Athletics Championships starting on Thursday at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Most of the athletes will be using the meet either to prepare for the national trials for the London Olympic Games due in June or to try to attain the qualifying time for the Summer Games.
After his intention for the World Indoor 1500m title became a cropper in Instanbul, Turkey in March, Silas Kiplagat, who is also the Commonwealth Games metric mile champion has set his focus on the London Games.
“I am neither taking the Prisons event lightly nor downplaying emerging athletes since they can be lethal,” said Kiplagat, who is also the 2011 Daegu Worlds silver medallist.
After the Prisons event, Kiplagat, who has already attained his Olympic Games qualifying A Standard time of 3 minutes 35.50 seconds, hopes to refine his skills further at the Diamond League opener in Doha on May 5 this year.
Kiplagat, who boasts personal best time of 3:29.27, attained his London Games qualification when he ran the fastest indoor mile in three years as he clocked 2:53:63 to edge out compatriot Caleb Ndiku at the US Track and Field Classic in Arkansas, on February 12.
Kiplagat, 23, was speaking yesterday after Commissioner of Police Isaiah Osugo received sponsorship in kind from Safaricom, Coca-Cola and Nairobi Sports House towards the two-day championships.
The men’s 1500m category has three heats starting at 2:15pm on Thursday.
Chepseba to compete
Kiplagat faces the 2011 Diamond League 1500m series winner, Nixon Chepseba with personal best of 3:30.94 and 2007 World Youth 1500m winner Fredrick Musyoki and Jonathan Komen.
Well, the new kid on the block, Ibrahim Muya has been quite sensational during the National Bank of Kenya/Athletics Kenya meets that ended last weekend in Kinoru, Meru.
However, it the penultimate event in Mumias, Muya set a blistering 10.2 to win his 100m heat before gliding to victory in the finals in 10.4.
Ideally, Muya’s time in Mumias would now be the new national record but it was hand-timed but the reiging national champion is not distracted from his ultimate goal. “My focus is to break the national record and clock the London Games time,” said Muya, 30. The A Standard time for 100m is 10.18 while B Standard is 10.24.
Thomas Musinde of Kenya Defence Forces holds the national record time of 10.26 set during the 2007 All Africa Games in Algiers.
Also eying the London Games qualification is the 400m hurdles national champion Maurine Jelagat,who boast of PB 56.2 set during the national trials for the 2011 Daegu Worlds.
Her personal best qualifies her in B Standard time of 56.65 but Jelagat is keen on surpassing A Standard 55.60. “With no quality challenge around, the onus is now on me to try and qualify in A Standard,” said Jelagat.
The men’s 10,000 finals are due today starting at 11.55am will feature the 2011 Africa Cross Country champion John Mwangangi, Isaac Korir and Joseph Birech among others.
The women’s 10,000m will be held tomorrow with two times Olympic Marathon silver medallist Catherine Ndereba, Selina Koskei, 2007 All Africa Games 3000m steeplechase champion, Ruth Bosibori and Pauline Wangui.