World Half Marathon record holder Joycilline Jepkosgei cashed in on the absence of World 5,000 metres champion Hellen Obiri to win women’s 5,000m title at the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships on Tuesday at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Jepkosgei, representing Garissa, won in 15 minutes and 19.1 seconds ahead of Moi Airbase runner Dorcas Kimeli (15:24.3). The 2016 Africa 5,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui of Thika, who is back from maternity leave, came third in 15:38.0.
Obiri skipped the championship, having competed in 3,000m at the Prefontaine Classic on Sunday night in California, USA.
“The competition was tough but I gave my best. Now I want to train hard as I target to qualify for the World Championships," said Jepkosgei, who will be chasing a double tomorrow in women’s 10,000m final.
Jepkosgei, the 2015 Africa 10,000m bronze medallist, said she would try her luck in 10,000m at the national trials for the World Championships.
Vedic Cheruiyot of Mtongwe won men's 10,000m. Cheruiyot, 23, ran a tactical race, keeping pace with a three-man leading pack before breaking off with less than 100 meters left to carry the day in 28:17.4.
Cheruiyot beat former KDF Cross County champion Alex Oloitiptip (Laikipia Airbase) and Alfred Barakach (Moi Airbase), who clocked 28:19.0 and 28:20.6 respectively. Like Jepkosgei, Cheruiyot also wants to take a shot at 10,000m during the World Championships qualifiers.
The last and only time Cheruiyot represented Kenya on track was when he claimed bronze in 3,000m during the World Under-18 Championships in 2013 in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Former national 400m champion Alphas Kishoyian, Joseph Poghisio (Nanyuki) who is in 400m Team Kenya for African Games, and Cleophas Kipruto (Thika) won their respective 400m heats to reach the semi-finals. Kishoyian (47.6) won the second heat while Kipruto won the third with the fastest qualifying time of 47.0. Poghisio clocked 47.4. International Collins Koros (Nairobi), Peter Lagat (Nanyuki) and Mathew Kipsang (MAB) won their 1,500m races to storm the final.
Lagat romped home with the fastest time of 3:44.78 while Koros won his semi-final in 3:48.2 as Kipsang timed 3:46.6.
Meanwhile, Jerioth Gathogo (Moi Airbase) clinched the women’s 100m hurdles title in 14.5 seconds stunning former champion Priscila Tabunda (Laikipia) in 14.6 as Jane Chege wrapped up the last podium place in 14.8.
The Kenya Defence Forces are using the event to select a team for the national championships set for August 15-17 at Kasarani.