Upsets were the order of the day as little-known Joseph Kitur, Purity Kirui and Ronald Kipkemboi snatched victories on the final day of the national athletics championships in Nairobi on Saturday.
But World 800m champion Eunice Sum, World 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono and World 1,500m bronze medallist Hellen Obiri easily won their specialities.
The championships doubled up as trials for the Commonwealth Games due July 23 to August 3 in Scotland and Africa Championships slated for August 10 to 14 in Morocco. The first two athletes in each event made it to the two championships automatically.
Elijah Kimitei will represent Kenya in both events in triple jump after leaping 16.40m to beat Isaac Kirwa (16.25m) and Barnabas Kalabata (16.13m).
Kitur, who was fifth at the 2008 Africa Championships, beat a rich field that had World 5,000m silver medallist Isaiah Kiplangat and World Indoor 3,000m champion Caleb Mwangangi to triumph in 13min, 30.1sec.
The men’s 5,000m saw fierce competition at the bell when Kitur burst clear with 300m left to win ahead of Mwangangi (13:30.2). Wilfred Kimitei from Prisons (13:30.3) was third, followed by Kiplangat (13:30.5).
“I knew I was going to compete against a rich field and just finishing among the top five would have been a bonus for me,” Kitur said. “I prayed to God to do something special for me and it happened. I felt my body responding well as my rivals wilted,” he added.
“I knew I would make the team but we need to have a game plan for Commonwealth Games,” said Mwangangi, the 2011 All Africa Games and 2012 Africa 1,500m champion. “
Kirui, the 2010 World Junior 3,000m steeplechase champion, beat World silver winner Lydia Chepkirui, Iyvin Kiyeng and Agnes Chesang for her first major event as a senior in 9:44.0. Joan Rotich was second in 9:44.6 and Kiyeng third in 9:45.1.
'SIGHTS ON 2016 OLYMPICS'
Kipkemboi won the men’s 1,500m in 3:34.6 as World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop withdrew. Elijah Manangoi was second in 3:35.0, followed by James Magut (3:35.1).
Sum, who won the Rome Diamond League race on Friday, won in 2:01.5, beating her mentor and 2007 World champion Janeth Jepkosgei (2:01.8) and Agatha Jeruto (2:02.1) to second and third places respectively.
“I am in great shape and I can’t wait to win the Commonwealth Game gold before setting my sights on 2016 Olympics God willing,” said Sum.
Obiri, the World Indoor silver medallist, led World Junior champion Faith Chepng’etich through in 4:04.8. Cheng’etich, who is also the reigning double World Cross junior champion, clocked 4:05.4 as Sela Jepleting wound third in 4:08.7.
Cherono, who is fresh from winning in Eugene before finishing fourth in Rome, showed pace and class to win the 5,000m race in 15:19.1 followed by Janet Kisa 15:26.4 and Margaret Wangare 15:27.0.
Women: 100m:- Millicent Ndoro, Safina Mukoswa. 200m:- Maureen Thomas, Millicent Ndoro. 400m :- Maureen Jelagat, Jacinta Shikanda. 400m hurdles:- Francisca Koki, Florence Wasike. 800m: Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei, Agatha Jeruto. 1,500m:- Hellen Obiri, Sheila Jepleting, Faith Chepng’etich. 3,000m steeplechase:- Purity Kirui, Joan Rotich, Milcah Chemos 5,000m:- Mercy Cherono, Janet Kisa, Margaret Wangare. 10,000m:- Florence Kiplagat, Joyce Chepkurui, Emily Chebet. Marathon:- Phyilis Ongori, Philomena Cheyech, Agnes Jeruto. Long jump: Grace Musyoki. Hammer: Linda Oseso, Lucy Omondi. 20km race walk: Grace Wanjiru, Emily Ngii, Susan CHepngetich.
Men: 100m: Walter Moenga, Tony Chirchir, Steve Baraza. 200m: Collins Omae, Calvin Nkanata. 400m hurdles: Boniface Mucheru, Nicholas Bett. 400m: Boniface Mucheru, Solomon Bwoga, Mark Mutai. 800m: Ferguson Rotich, Evans Kipkorir, David Rudisha. 1,500m: Ronald Kipkemboi, Elijah Manangoi, James Magut. 3,000m steeplechase: Jairus Birech, Jonathan Muia, Ezekiel Kemboi. 5,000m: Joseph Kitur, Caleb Mwangangi, Isaiah Kiplangat. 10,000m Josephat Bett, Peter Kirui, Peter Cheruiyot. Marathon: John Kelai, Eric Ndiema, Stephan Chelai. 20km race walk David Kimutai, Samuel Gathimba, Silvanus Wekesa. High Jump: Matthew Sawe. Triple jump: Elijah Kimitei. Discus: David Limo. Javelin: Julius Yego, Michael Rop, Sammy Keskeny. Long jump: Tera Langat, Elijah Kimitei, Kiplangat Ruto.