Commonwealth silver medallists Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m) and Cellphine Chespol (3,000m steeplechase) turned on the style, returning personal best times to win their respective 800m titles as the Kenya Prisons Services Athletics Championships ended on Saturday at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Cheruiyot, the World 1,500m silver medallist, led from gun to tape in an emphatic victory in 1 minute and 44.74 seconds as Chespol returned 2:06.48 to win the women’s race.
Chespol, the World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase and Africa Cross Country senior women champion, had earlier coasted to victory in 1,500m also in a personal best time of 4:11.3.
Another Commonwealth 800m silver medallist Margaret Nyairera retained her 400m title in 54.06 before relinquishing her 200m crown, clocking 25.03 to finish second to Vivian Michira on 24.53.
Africa 5,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei was untouchable to retain men’s 5,000m in 13:53. 6 as Ibrahim Muya, whose career had been dogged by injuries, signalled his return in winning men’s 100m in 10.81.
Cheruiyot, the 2017 Diamond League Series winner, edged out guest runner Indunil Herathi from Sri Lanka to second place in 1:47.13 with the 2011 World 1,500m silver medallist Silas Kiplagat coming third in 1:47.73.
“It’s such a wonderful feeling setting my personal best in the two-lap race at home,” said Cheruiyot, who is looking forward to the National Championship cum Africa Championships trials starting on Thursday at Kasarani.
“I deliberately ran in 800m so as to polish my speed especially the last 300m in my specialty ahead of the nationals,” said Cheruiyot.
Chespol virtually led from the start to finish, crossing the finish line in 2:06.48, beating World Under-18 800m champion Jackline Wambui to second place in 2:08.00. Josephine Nyakora clocked 2:10.22 for third place.
Chespol sizzled in the metric mile race, returning 4:11.3 to see off Tabitha Wambui in 4:15.7 as Nyakora retuned 4:27.8 for third place.
“I like my finishing kick so far from the two races I have won but there is more to be done ahead of the nationals,” said Chespol, who has already qualified for the World Under-20 Championships planned for July 10-15 in Tampere, Finland.
Chespol is also spoilt for choice since victory at the Nationals will see her earn a place at the Africa Championships planned for August 1-5 in Assaba, Nigeria. “I definitely want to defend junior title in Finland and I will still have time to prepare for the Africa event,” said Chespol.
Nyairera, who is also working out on her speed, eased to victory in 400m in 54.06, beating Michira in 54.37 as Mercy Adijah came in third in 58.70.
Kelvin Kiprotich won the men’s 400m in 46.83, beating Geoffrey Mutai and Geoffrey Kiprotich in 46.96 and 47.32 respectively. Hesbon Ochieng was crowned men’s 200m champion in 21.36 but lost the 100m title to Muya in 10.82 against 10.81.
Kimitei was simply elegant in 5,000m, beating Cornelius Kangogo to retain the title in 13:53.6 against 13:56.3.