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Steeplechase queen Chepkoech eyeing Police cross glory

Friday January 25 2019

Beatrice Chepkoech (left) from Anti Stock Theft Unit and General Service Unit's Ruth Chepng'etich (right) lead Stacy Ndiwa from Kenya Police College during the National Police Service Cross Country Championships at Ngong Racecourse on January 13, 2018. Ndiwa won the race. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |

Beatrice Chepkoech (left) from Anti Stock Theft Unit and General Service Unit's Ruth Chepng'etich (right) lead Stacy Ndiwa from Kenya Police College during the National Police Service Cross Country Championships at Ngong Racecourse on January 13, 2018. Ndiwa won the race. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech is confident of winning women’s 10km title at the Kenya Police Service Cross Country Championships at the Ngong Racecourse on Saturday.

Chepkoech, who won gold in mixed relay at the 2017 Kampala World Cross Country, said she hopes to start her local season on a high as she targets both the National and World Cross Country top honours.

“I want to also compete in 10km at the Nationals and see how it unravels…it’s a tough call but it’s always good to try and see if I will make it to the World event,” said Chepkoech, who lost the battle to Stacy Ndiwa last year, finishing second.

The National Cross Country Championships are due February 23 at Eldoret Golf Club followed by the World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.

Chepkoech, the World 3,000m steeplechase record holder, warmed up to the Police event with victory at Cross Internacional de Itálica in Santiponce, Seville on January 20.

The victory came a week after finishing third at Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza in Elgoibar all in Spain.

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“I have been travelling a lot from Monaco for the IAAF Awards to Spain but I hope fatigue won’t take a toll on me. I am now in a better shape than when I finished second at Police cross last year,” said the Continental Cup (World Cup) and Africa 3,000m steeplechase champion.

Chepkoech - who made the final three for the 2018 IAAF Female Athlete Award and won the Safaricom Sportswoman of the Year Award - said she is focused on winning the 3,000m steeplechase title in the Doha World Championships in October this year.

Chepkoech, the Commonwealth 1500m silver medallist, will once again take on Ndiwa, who finished fifth during the 2015 World Cross Country, and the former World 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng.

Also in contention are former World 800m champion Eunice Sum and African Games 5,000m champion Margaret Chelimo.

Ndiwa, the Africa 10,00m champion and Commonwealth 10,000m silver medallist, will be seeking to seal a hat-trick of victories.

Geoffrey Kamworor, the two-time World Cross Country champion, will be eyeing his sixth title, having recaptured the title he lost to Augustine Choge in 2017 last year.

Kamworor, who won the Police race back-to-back from 2013 to 2016, failed to defend his title in 2017 due to illness before cracking the whip last year.

Kamworor will face Choge, who is out to reclaim his title. Noah Kipkemboi, Josphat Bett and World and Commonwealth 1,500m champion Elijah Manang’oi are also eager to halt Kamworor’s charge.

“I am looking forward to represent my country once again and perhaps seal a hat-trick in Denmark,” said Kamworor who is christened ‘Man of all surfaces’.

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