World champion Emily Chebet and former World junior champion Mercy Cherono have earned wild cards in the Police Service team for Saturday’s National Cross Country Championships at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi.
Chebet, who holds two World Cross Country titles after her exploits in 2010 and 2013 in Bydgoszcz, and Cherono, the 2010 Bydgoszcz World cross junior gold medallist, didn’t take part in Police Cross championships three weeks ago.
Also given a wild card to spearhead South Rift’s team in a field that is saturated with a galaxy of stars is the world champion Japheth Korir in men’s 12km. Korir surprised many when he won the world title on a snowy course in Bydgoszcz.
Chebet and Cherono will take part in women’s 12km race that will have the 2011 World Cross Country champion Vivian Cheruiyot missing in action after opting to prepare for track running.
Even with Cheruiyot, who finished third during the Police trials out, the women’s field also looks rich, what with the reigning world junior champion Faith Chepng’etich, who graduated to senior ranks last year with victory at the national cross, out to defend her title.
Chepng’etich, who soared to world cross junior victories in 2011 Punta Umbria and 2013 Bydgoszcz, and went on to win the 2014 Africa title in Uganda, is now ripe for the world stage.
Chepng’etich will be representing her South Rift team as she prepares to battle the Police team that also has Stacy Ndiwa, Janet Kisa, Sylvia Chebet and Irene Jelagat.
Kenya Defence Forces have a strong women’s team led by their event’s winner Sela Jepleting, World half marathon champion Gladys Cherono and Doris Chengeywo.
Korir will be facing the 2013 World Junior cross silver medallist Leonard Barsaton, who has also been given a wild card in Police men’s 12km team as Athletics Kenya confirmed an entry of 391 athletes for the IAAF Permit event.