Past records and reputations counted for little as young runners came of age and claimed the scalps of seasoned athletes to win tickets to the World Cross Country Championship in Amman, Jordan.
What a way for Moses Mosop, Florence Kiplagat, Mercy Cherono and John Kemboi to win in their respective race categories in a championship that tested their resilience, endurance, speed and fighting spirits.
It was a fine morning for Mosop, the 2007 senior men silver medallist in Mombasa, who returned four months ago from a leg injury which kept him off the track for over a season, to win the 12km race. He beat world junior 5,000m silver medallist Mathew Kisorio to stop the clock at 38:16.0.
On the last lap, Mosop took the lead but Kisorio managed to stay with him until the 11km mark. Mosop’s resilience paid off as Kisorio slowed down to concede a 100m gap.
Mosop sprinted to the finish with over 20 seconds advantage. Kisorio was lucky to keep his second slot in 38:37.2 while Kiptoo 38:39.2 was third. Linus Chumba 38:47.7 made the cut coming in fourth to edge out Chebon 38:49.2 and Ndiwa 38:52.2.
Gold in sight
“The injury is history and now I have the gold in sight. I was disappointed with silver in Mombasa, now I have another chance,” said Mosop.
Kisorio, a student at Kosirai High school in Mosoriot, was glad to have made it.
“I planned to wear out the opposition with the high pace. It worked out well initially but Mosop is strong and I feel good for making the team,” he said.
Florence Kiplagat 28:31.4 helped Kenya Police retain the title beating Iness Chenonge 28:31.8, Linet Masai, 28:47.0, Linet Chepkurui 28:56.1 and Ann Karindi 29:01.3.
It was disappointing day for Pauline Korikwiang who was hampered by a stitch to finish 14th timed at 29:55.4. She was however given a wild card.
Mercy Cherono won the junior women 6km race in 21:44.2. Hilda Chepkemoi 21:57.4, Jackline Chepng’eno 21:58.8, Jackline Chebii 22:04.9 and Faith Chepngetich 22:17.7 finished behind Cherono in that order. Nelly Chebet was sixth in 22:18.4.
In men’s 8km race, Commonwealth Youth games 5,000m bronze medallist Japhet Korir was third in 25:25.9 behind winner John Kemboi 25:22.9 and second placed Paul Tanui 25:23.6. John Chepkwony 25:28.3.