World Junior 800m champion Kipyegon Bett outclassed a strong field to win his 800m race during the national trials for the World Relay Championships on Saturday at Kasarani .
The victory saw Bett named in a squad of 30 athletes that will enter camp to prepare for the World Relay Championships programmed for April 22-23 in Nassau, Bahamas.
Bett cracked the fastening time on Kenyan soil this season of 1 minute and 44.2 seconds (hand timed) to stun the 2016 Diamond League 800m Series winner Ferguson Rotich to second place in 1:44.7.
Rotich rallied from the back of the 10-athlete pack to finish second, beating the 2014 World Junior 800m champion Alfred Kipketer to third in 1:45.5, followed by Cornelius Tuwei in 1:45.7.
The performance saw the quartet claim places in the 4x800m team that will also has Timothy Kitum, the 2012 London Olympics 800m bronze medallist.
“I’m so excited, this being my first time to qualify for the World Relays,” said the 19-year-old Bett. “This is a strong team. I’m confident we shall reclaim the world title.”
Kenya’s 4x800m team of Kipketer, Kitum, Nicholas Kipkoech and Jeremiah Mutai was disqualified in the 2015 event, a year after they had won the inaugural 4x800m World Relay title. Rotich and Kipketer made the team. “I hope we get our tactics well this time round. We need that title back,” said Rotich.
Sylvia Chesebe, who was in the team that won silver in medley relay in 2015, gets to make a return to the women’s 4x800m. Chesebe was also in the 4x800m team that finished last in their event in 2015.
Men: 4x200m: Collins Omae, Ferdinand Omanyala, Peter Mwai, Mike Mokamba, Mark Otieno
4x800m: Kipyegon Bett, Ferdinand Rotich, Alfred Kipketer, Cornelius Tuwei, Timothy Kitum
2x200m: Maximilla Emali, Damaris Aokoth, Peris Chege, Patricia Isichi, Mary Tanui
4x400m: Jacinta Shikanda, Veronica Mutua, Grace Kidake, Everline Makena, Catherine Nandi
4x800m: Emily Cherotich, Sylvia Chesebe, Josephine Chelagat, Mary Kuria, Eglay Nalianya
4x400m mix relay: Alphas Kishoyian, Boniface Mweresa, Geoffrey Kiprotich, Daisy Komen, Betty Chelagat
Officials: George Macharia (head coach), Steven Mwaniki (dept. head coach), Elkana Nyangau (dept. head coach), Joyce Odhiambo