In the absence of elite athletes, road racer Bernard Kipyego triumphed in the men’s 10,000 metres final on the first day of the Kenya Police Athletics Championship at the Nyayo National Stadium Friday.
Kipyego’s return to the track, however, was only meant to secure points for his Nyanza Province team as he is focusing on running at the Chicago Marathon in October.
“I want to gauge my speed and performance in a competitive meeting. I have no intentions of running at the World Championships (on the track),” he said.
Kipyego looked relaxed as he took the command of the race after just three laps and went through the race as if in rehearsal of a major marathon.
He clocked 28:35.1, which was slower than what most of the fringe athletes were targeting, 27:40.00, to qualify for the World Championships.
Philemon Rono, representing Vigilance House, the Police headquarters, was second in 28:35.4 ahead of Wilson Kipsang 28:36.2 and Joseph Kiptum 28:36.4.
In the 1,500m race, Mary Wangare was triumphant in 4:09:08 edging out world 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Milkah Chemos 4:17:05 while Beth Njeri 4:22:08 was happy with the third position.
“I decided to run in this race because I wanted to work on my speed. I will return to my speciality in the Diamond league and also want to make the Kenyan team for the world championship. The race was tough, there is no single race that is simple and it not being my event, made it worse for me. But I am happy with the time I made here,” said Chemos.
Superb sprinting skills
The men’s 1,500m race saw Elkana Yego displayed superb sprinting skills as he came off the final 200m bend with quick and wide strides to clinch the four lap race. The absence of top runners like Asbel Kiprop and Haron Keitany was a blessing to the Yego, who was a guest athlete as he pulled away from his pursuant to clock 3:43:08.
Andrew Yegon 3:44.7 had to settle for silver with Nicholas Musyoka 3:45.0 coming in third. Suleiman Simotwa 3:45.2 was fourth ahead of Kipngetich Kirui 3:45.6 and Benard Matheka 3:46.3.
Joyce Zakari, on her return from a ankle injury found the pace too fast for herself as she wound up third in the women 400m race, which was won by Juliet Rono in 59.3. Zakary, who was at the last world championship in Berlin in 2009, was third in 54.6 behind Ebby Mary 59.7.
In the hurdles, Francisca Koki clocked 61.3 to win edging out Edna Kwamboka of Eastern province 63.4 and Cathrine Kagwiria 71.0 in the women’s 400m hurdles race.
Fourth place was Lucy Chanzu in 77.0 while Pascaline Chelagat was fifth in 77.6.
Geofrey Kabitali took just 57.2 to win the men 400m hurdle race, beating Rere Sang to silver in 57.2 while George Nzioka was third in 55.7.