World junior cross country champion Faith Chepng’etich and Africa title holder Clement Langat highlight the elite field in this Saturday’s KCB/Athletics Kenya cross country meeting at Embu’s Kangaru Secondary School.
At 18, Chepng’etich’s credentials are already impeccable as after winning the junior race at the 39th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, the photogenic girl from Keringet followed up with a gold medal in the 1,500 metres at the 7th IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France.
This year, she added another gold medal to her fledgling collection with victory in her track speciality, clocking four minutes, 4.96 seconds to win the World Junior Championships in Barcelona last August.
Chepng’etich missed out on the third leg of the series in Kapsokwony as she was away in Barcelona where she was among the young athletes feted at the centenary celebrations of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Won silver medal
In her absence, Sheila Chemng’etich, Agnes Jebet, Jackline Chebwogen, Mercy Chebwogen and Lina Cheruto grabbed the top five positions in the junior women’s six-kilometre race.
During the previous meet on the well-manicured Kisii Golf Club course, the third in the annual series sponsored by the Kenya Commercial Bank, Chepng’etich was beaten to second place by Roline Chepng’etich with Agnes Chebet third.
Also confirmed for Embu is Bomet-born Africa champion Langat who won a silver medal in the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Japan-based Langat, who runs under the Fuji Heavy Industry banner for Subaru, wants to make it a golden return when the global contest returns to the Polish city next March and is currently back home on a training break from the wintry Japan.
Other veteran elites expected include John Mwangangi, silver medallist at this year’s World Half Marathon Championships in Bulgaria, Mark Kiptoo and Lineth Chepkirui.
“The arrangements are solidly on course and we expect a strong field as we slowly build up to the national championships and trials for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland next March,” Athletics Kenya treasurer Joseph Kinyua said on Tuesday.
Kinyua is also the chairman of AK’s Eastern branch.
During the last leg in Kapsokwony, Hoseah Macharinyang made a victorious comeback by winning the senior men’s race, while another of the illustrious Masai family, Magdalene, won the senior women’s race with Moses Mukono and Sheila Chemng’etich grabbing the junior titles.