Teenager Sandra Chebet exhibited class and talent to crush an experienced field for victory in women’s 10,000 metres race as the Kenya Police Service Athletics Championships fired off Tuesday at the Nyayo National Stadium.
The 19-year-old Chebet, a silver medallist at the World Under-18 championship in the 2,000 metres, had the arena cheering after she broke away from the pack with five laps to go to win in a commanding fashion of 34 minutes and 19.2 seconds.
Former World Under-20 Championships 3,000m steeplechase champion and record holder Ruth Bosibori (Coast) had led the race for 20 laps before Chebet, who competed as a guest, stepped on her gas pedal to swing to the lead with Bosibori, 2010 Africa 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Lydia Rotich (Nairobi) and Stacy Ndiwa (Police College).
Chebet, who hails from Lemotit Training Camp in Londiani, widened the gap between her and Ndiwa, who charged past Rotich at the bell before winning by a margin of close to 120 metres on the opening day.
Ndiwa settled second in 34:37.2 with Rotich wrapping up the last podium place in 34:38.5.
Bosibori slumped to seventh in 35:11.5 while former champion Lucy Kabuu, who is also the 2006 Commonwealth 10,000m champion, failed to finish the race.
“I have no intentions if joining the Police force, I only graced this event to test my endurance ahead of the national trials for the World Championships,” said Chebet, who said she will either take a shot at the 1,500m or 10,000m at the trials for the World Championships which will be held from August 4 to 13 in London.
In case Chebet succeeds, it will be the first time she will be representing the country in senior races, having represented Kenya twice in World Under-20 Championships races.
She finished 11th at the World Cross Country Championships last March in Kampala and fifth at the World Under-20 Championships last year in Poland.
George Manangoi, a younger brother of World 1,500m silver medallist Elijah Manangoi, Abednego Chesebe, Collins Cheboi and Gilbert Kwemoi won their respective 1,500m heats to qualify for the final due Thursday.
Cheboi posted the fastest semi-finals qualifying when he won his heat in 3:40.0, beating Dominic Mutuku with the second fastest time of 3:44.7.
Manangoi won his heat in 3:45.6 while Chesebe clocked 3:45.5 to take his heat. Kwemoi timed 3:48.1.
World Cross Country Championships’ mixed relays gold medallists Caroline Chepkoech and Winfred Mbithe performed well in the women’s 1,500m races to storm the final on Thursday.
Chepkoech, who settled second in 3,000m steeplechase in Doha a fortnight ago, having claimed fourth places at the same race at the 2015 World Championships and Rio Olympics, won her race in 4:18.3 while Mbithe settled second in 4:23.2 in her race won by Caroline Tuigong in 4:22.9.
Wednesday will witness the women’s 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase finals.
World 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng will battle in the 5,000m with the 2013 World 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono and Africa 5,000m champion Margaret Chelimo.
The 2015 Diamond League Series steeplechase champion Virginia Nyambura will face-off with Commonwealth Games champion Purity Kurui and Tuigong in the 3,000m steeplechase final.