Although surprises are expected at the national cross country trials to select Kenya’s team to the 37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, there are some athletes who appear set to do well at the Ngong Racecourse on Saturday.
Among the athletes poised for top honours include schoolboy Mathews Kisorio, winner of the Athletics Kenya cross country series in Nyahururu and the 16th edition of the Discovery Kenya cross country in Eldoret.
The fourth form student at Kosirai Secondary School in Nandi, who has just graduated from junior level, has the speed and endurance to tackle any course. He is eager and appears excited about the prospects of facing the experienced seniors at the 12-kilometre race at Ngong.
Another man to watch out for is Moses Mosop, a silver medallist in the senior men’s race at the 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa. He is among the athletes local coaches have put their bet on to carry the day at Ngong.
He displayed awesome form in his victory at the annual Tuskys cross country race in Eldoret last December where he exhibited a powerful finishing kick that saw him win by over 200 metres from the second finisher, Peter Muriuki.
Mosop has not been in action since then and it is suspected he has been shaping up in one of those secluded places of the high altitude north Rift Valley.
Kisorio, a world junior 5,000 metres silver medallist, and Mosop are among the athletes representing the north Rift team at the Ngong race which is also an IAAF Permit Meeting.
Hella Kiprop, winner of both the Tuskys and Discovery 8km senior wome’s races, looks a sure bet to make the team to the Amman, Jordan.
Although Kisorio and Kiprop did not take part in the north Rift provincial championships held in Nandi last weekend, sources indicated that they would get wild cards to the team.
Going by her form, Kiprop could be among the runners who could cause major upset at Ngong.
Also in this group will be Milicent Gathoni, the reigning Central province senior women’s champion.
Gathoni could easily make the team to Jordan if those who will handle the Central province team will take the runners to Nairobi early enough to acclimatise.
Last year, the team left Nyahururu late arrived in Nairobi close to midnight on the eve of the race and the runners did not have enough rest for the races.
A Central team coach, Ibrahim Kinuthia, said this time round, they have prepared the runners well.
What is remaining is to not only focus on the national championships, but also on the Amman championships.
Another coach, Francis Kamau, says the athletes need to realise the market value that comes with taking part in meets like the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.