Two-times World indoor 1,500 metres silver medalist, Daniel Komen Kipchirchir, set Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium track alive when he registered the fastest time in the race as the Athletics Kenya third weekend meeting started on Friday.
The race, which had eight heats, drew some of the top runners in the country and Saturday’s final is expected to generate fireworks. Running in the second heat, Komen, who won a silver indoors in 2007 and 2008, won in 3:44.3 ahead of Bethwel Birgen of Administration Police, who clocked 3:44.6.
Beijing Olympics silver medalist, Asbel Kirop, who won the second edition of the meeting in Nyeri, was in a class of his own when he easily won his heat after stopping the clock at 3:47.4.
Did not disappoint
Olympic steeplechase bronze medallist, Richard Metelong, of Kenya Police, found the going tough as his attempts to win the second heat of the 5,000 metres flopped after he pulled out in the seventh lap.
In the women’s 10,000m final, Monica Wangare of Kenya Police, the winner in Nyeri, maintained her winning streak after clocking 32:47.0.
Ann Wanjiru (33:02.0) was second. Uganda’s Fame Athletics Club from Tororo town has entered eight runners in 200m, 400m and 800m races and their runners did not disappoint as they gave their hosts a stiff challenge.
Head coach James Mugeni said they were using the weekend meetings to gauge their upcoming runners and expose them to some of the finest athletes in the region. They also participated in the first meeting in Kisumu.
“Kenya has some of the finest runners in the region and that is why we have decided to participate in all weekend meetings” said Mugeni.
Uganda’s best athlete was Agnes Aneno, who won her 200m heat after returning an impressive time of 26.1 and hot on her heels was Mary Chepkoech of Lanet (26.5), followed by Wilkister Chuma of Nairobi (27.2) with Damaris Mbongo of Moi Air Base finishing fourth in 28.0.
In the first 400m heat, Florence Wasike of Prisons won in 55.8 followed by Uganda’s Aneno in 57.8 with Biarose Chepkoech finishing third in 59.0 and Vivian Chelagat came a distant fourth in 1:01.7