World 5,000m silver medalist Mercy Cherono anchored her to team a World record-breaking feat in women’s 4x1,500m at the national trials for the World Relay Championships on Saturday at Nyayo Stadium.
Cherono, who is also the 2008 and 2010 World Junior 3,000 champion, led Irene Jelagat, Ann Karindi and Perin Nenkampi to a new World Record time of 17 minutes 05. 72 seconds.
Interestingly, the record fell only 22 days after another group of Kenyans broke the six-year standing record of 17:08.34 from the University of Tennessee.
World 800m champion Eunice Sum, World 1,500m bronze medalist Hellen Obiri, Anne Karindi and Margaret Chelimo clocked 17:08.17 on April 5 during the last leg of Athletics Kenya Series at Kasarani.
“I saw it coming and I can predict that we will break the record again at the World Relays,” said Cherono.
World champions Asbel Kiprop (1,500m) and Eunice Sum (800m) on Saturday won their respective events at the Safaricom National Trials to qualify for the World Relay Championships due May 24 to 25 in Nassau, Bahamas.
Also to ease through to the World Relays are the World 5,000m silver medalist Mercy Cherono, who won the 1,500m race in the absence of World 1,500m bronze medalist Hellen Obiri.
Kiprop, who won his maiden World 1,500m title in 2011 in Daegu before retaining it last year in Moscow, won the metric mile race easily in 3:36.1, beating Commonwealth Games champion Silas Kiplagat to second place in 3:36.4 followed by Collins Cheboi (3:36.6) and Joseph Magut (3:37.0). The four clinched automatic places in the 4x1,500m team.
Surprisingly, World Indoor 3,000m gold medalist Caleb Mwangangi finished in sixth place in 3:38.2 and his only hope was for a wild card from the national selectors. Athletics Kenya selected the first four athletes across the line in the straight events but two more athletes were to be added to each team after the relay events.
It was a requirement for the 4x100m and 4x400m teams to meet qualifying times set by IAAF. The men and women’s times in 4x100m are 38.90sec and 43.80, while the 4x400m standard was 3:04.10 and 3:33.00 respectively.
The 4x1,500m World Record of 14:36.23 is held by Kenyans William Biwott Tanui, Gideon Gathimba, Geoffrey Kipkoech Rono and Augustine Kiprono Choge set on September 4, 2009 at Memorial Van Damme Meet.
Sum clocked 2:03.2 beating her mentor and 2007 World champion Janeth Jepkosgei (2:03.9) for the 800m race victory.
Sylvia Chesebe (2:04.8) and Cherono Koech (2:05.2) came in third and fourth to booked places in the 4x800m team.
“It was quite easy for me having won some races in Melbourne, Australia last month,” Sum said. “It feels good to form a team with my mentor. We won’t be competing against each other but as a team hence our target is the World Record.” Russia holds the 4x800m World Record time of 7:50.17 set in 1984.
Kipketer, running in his first race as a senior, was home and dry in 1:44.2, beating Jon Kinyor.
Cherono’s team edged out the team of Sheila Chepng’etich, Sela Jepleting, Margaret Chelimo and Purity Cherotich to second place in 17:47.75.
The team of Caroline Chepkemoi, Caroline Chepkoech, Beatrice Chepkoech and Fancy Cherotich wound third in 18:21.33.
Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo said the record at Kasarani was ratified by the IAAF and they should do the same in due course for the record broken by Cherono’s team.
Sum, the 2007 World 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei, Sylvia Chesebe and Cherono Koech won women’s 4x 800m in 8:23.13 with a team of Agatha Jeruto, Miriam Chepkemoi, Sylvia Cherop and Sheila Chesang taking second place in 8:37.83.
Commonwealth Games 800m bronze medalist Abraham Kiplagat anchored his team of Robert Biwott, Edwin Kemboi and Cornelius Kiplagat to victory in 7:08.30 with Alfred Kipketer’s team of Job Kinyor, Fergusson Rotich and Sammy kirongo coming in second in 7:09.21.