The second New KCC/Athletics Kenya track and field weekend meeting kicked off on Thursday at Ruring’u Stadium, Nyeri, with spectacular performances from a record turnout from across the country.
Testing the renovated venue was the 10,000m women’s pack at 9.35am. Laikipia Air Base’s (LAB) Naomi Chepngetich produced a gun-to-tape 33.55.06 victory as her closest rival, Jemimah Chelangat from Moi Air Base (MAB), came second.
Pre-race favourite Jane Kang’ara held on to the leading pack up to the 15th lap. GSU’s Hellen Sembi finished third. And for the third consecutive year the 3,000m steeplechase will not be staged at the venue due to vandalism and lack of water.
Central AK chairman David Miano said hammer throw, high jump and pole vault were also axed for the same reason. “We have no control over the stadium. We have incurred heavy losses in this stadium since it is neglected,” Miano lamented as he called upon Sports minister Hellen Sambili to intervene.
“I am very happy. Although I was expecting to win, the ground is hard. Thank God I made it,” said Chepngetich, adding that she is targeting the July 28 to August 1 Africa Senior championships in Nairobi.
A gigantic clash pitting a record 100 athletes in the men’s 1,500m forced 20-runner heats instead of the maximum 15. A new trend is gradually emerging in the sprints, noted MAB coach Stephen Lang’at as 64 entries were posted in eight heats of the 100m. Abuja silver medallist Ezra Sambu stood out in the category.
Nyahururu-based Mary Kuria and Grace Kimanzi dominated the two 1,500m heats to date Damaris Muthee and Beth Njeri in Saturday’s finals. Posta’s Magrine Mayio threw the discus 34.39 metres to floor LAB’s Naomi Gesare (32.66m) and Prisons’ Agnes Kilundo (31.33m).