Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto will lead Coast Region at this year’s Lotto/ Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships slated for Saturday at Eldoret Sports Club.
Besides Kipruto, the Commonwealth and World Cup 3,000m steeplechase champion, Coast has also picked on 2014 World Under-20 10,000m bronze medallist Nicholas Kosimbei to boost their chances in the men’s’ 10km race.
Kipruto, who is also the Africa 3,000m steeplechase champion and Kosimbei, the 2018 Gifu Half Marathon winner will be joined by United States based Panuel Mkungo, Dominic Mailu, Daniel Pkemoi and Lameck Mwakio.
Kipruto made his first Kenyan cross country team for the 2013 Bydgoszcz World Cross Country in Poland, the last time he represented the country at cross country.
After a win at the Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza and third at the Cross Internacional de Itálica in Spain, Kipruto made the junior team at the Kenyan trials after finishing sixth before winding fifth at the 2013 Bydgoszcz World Cross, helping Kenya to the junior team silver medal.
Athletics Kenya Central Rift chairman Solomon Mutai, who is also the Local organizing Committee chairman, said that Coast Region is among 18 teams due to arrive in Eldoret on Thursday ahead of the championships that will for the first time staged in the afternoon.
Mutai said Kenya Wildlife Service and Refugees Team will be taking part at the Nationals that will be preceded by athletes’ agents and managers meeting on Thursday at Noble Hotel followed by athletes seminar at the same hotel on Friday.
Only two individuals will be allowed to compete- Gert Brienne “Rubani Mkimbiaji” and Mohammed Ilshad Dookun from Mauritius.
“The rest of the contestants will compete in their respective teams,” said Mutai.
Friday afternoon will witness the unveiling of four athletes’ statues at the junction of Nairobi, Kaptagat and Kapsabet Road.
Saturday morning will feature entertainment and exhibition from across Kenyan communities including Maasai, Kalenjin and Samburu among others.
Women’s Under-20 6km race will open the session at 2.30pm followed later by men’s Under-20 8km, senior women’s 10km and senior men’s 10km races. The universal relay will close the session to be followed by the team naming.
Team Kenya is scheduled to proceed to residential training on March 1 at Kigari Teachers Training College, Embu for almost a month before departure on March 27 for Aarhus.