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Gladys Cherono leads stars to KDF championships

Tuesday June 9 2015

Gladys Cherono during a past Kenya Defence Forces race. FILE PHOTO

Gladys Cherono during a past Kenya Defence Forces race. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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World 10,000m silver medallist Gladys Cherono is among the Olympic, World, Commonwealth and Africa medallists set to grace this year’s Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships starting Wednesday at Kasarani.

Cherono, 31, who is also the 2012 Africa 5,000m and 10,000m queen, will defend her 5,000m and 10,000m titles on Wednesday and Thursday.

“I am ready for battle,” Cherono challenged her rivals. “In fact, I am fully back in the country to try and get qualifying time in 10,000m for the World Championships.”

Cherono, who made her marathon debut in Dubai on January 23, this year, clocking 2:20:03 to finish second behind winner Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia (2:20:02), tore the field apart last year, clocking 16 minutes 49.8 seconds, to win the 5,000m title.

Cherono, the World Half Marathon champion, beat former KDF Cross Country champion Lynet Chepkirui (Moi Air Base) to second in 16:52.1.

Thika’s Gladys Chemweno settled for third in 17:02.0. Cherono, who is fresh from winning Istanbul Half Marathon (66.38) in April and Ottawa 10km Road Race (30:56) in May, will face the same opposition before taking head-on likes of Jemimah Jelagat and Peninah Arusei in the 10,000m clash.

Cherono has personal best 14:47.12 in 5,000m and 30:29.23 in 10,000m all set in 2013. Jelagat has already secured a place in Kenya’s marathon team for the 2015 World Championships due August 22 to 30 in Beijing, China.

Jelagat finished second in 2:25:10 at the New York City Marathon, last year, losing a close battle with compatriot Mary Keitany (2:25:07).

DEFEND HIS CROWN

The men’s 10,000m final will also go down on Wednesday with the 2007 World Cross Country silver medallist Vincent Kiprop from Kahawa defending his crown.

Kiprop shrugged off Wilson Too and Laikipia Air Base’s Kiplimo Kimutai to win the men’s 10,000m title in 29:04.6. Too settled second in 29:06.4 ahead of Kiplimo in 29:10.5.

Too, Kiplimo and fast-rising Geoffrey Kirui are out to halt Kiprop’s dominance.

Commonwealth 1,500m champion James Magut will highlight the men’s metric mile race qualifying rounds that will also feature Bernard Kaptingei and Johnstone Simatwa.

The women’s 1,500m qualifying rounds has World Relay medley silver medallist Sella Jepleting (Lanet), who is also the KDF Cross Country champion, and Perin Nenkampi.

Jepleting is also likely to double up in women’s 800m qualifying rounds with 2012 London Olympics 800m bronze medallist Timothy Kitum (LAB) expected in men’s qualifying rounds.

The 2010 Commonwealth 400m champion Mark Mutai (MAB) will highlight men’s 400m qualifying rounds that will feature Alfas Kishoyan (MAB), Boniface Mucheru (Nanyuki) and Geoffrey Namudany (MAB) 49.8.

Also on Wednesday, Caroline Cherotich from Kahawa will defend her women’s Pole Vault title with Pauline Matanu (Embakasi) putting her women’s long jump title on the line.

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