I want to take this opportunity to invite the public to this weekend’s African Games athletics trials, starting Thursday all through to Saturday at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
I dare say that the event is like a ‘mini Olympics’ for Kenya and you will definitely not go wrong if you opt to spend your next three days on the terraces at Kasarani.
Already, the start list is out and it reads like who-is-who in Kenyan athletics circles. If you missed the opening legs of IAAF Diamond League meetings in Doha, Shanghai, Oslo and Rabat, you have the opportunity to catch up here on home soil with all the elite runners invited to do battle.
Leading the onslaught will be the country’s favourite and world 5,000 metres champion Hellen Obiri, who leads a star-studded field for the trials. Obiri opened her track season with a win in Doha last month, clocking 8:25.60 in the 3000m.
Obiri is using the African Games as a build-up as she seeks to defend her crown at the World Championship in Doha in September.
She will be up against Margaret Chelimo, Lilian Kasait, Beatrice Chebet, Pascaline Jepkorir, Gloria Kite and former World cross country champion Agnes Tirop among others in the 12-lap race.
The women’s 10,000m will be equally interesting, with Alice Aprot leading the way. She has Joyce Chepkemoi, Celestine Chepchirchir, Beatrice and Stacy Ndiwa, among others, to contend with in the 24-lap race.
World 3000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech is seeking to bounce back after defeat to Norah Jeruto last weekend in Oslo. Like the other races, the event promises thrills as Chepkoech seeks to re-affirm her supremacy.
Here, she will have the company of world U-20 3000-metre steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol, Mercy Chepkurui and Joan Chepkoech.
World and Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi and rival Timothy Cheruiyot will be the men to watch in the men’s 1,500m and they never disappoint.
While the focus will be on the two, the likes of Bethwell Birgen, Vincent Kibet, Nixon Chepseba and George Manangoi will be out to make the All Africa Games just in case the duo decide otherwise.
The men’s 5,000m will be another interesting race with Edward Zakayo up against Stanley Waithaka, Davis Kiplagat, Paul Tanui, Alfred Barkach, Leonard Bett and Ronald Kwemoi.
The same will apply to the 10,000m where Rhonex Kipruto starts as the favourite for the 25-lap race.
Generally for the next three days, Kasarani will be the place to be with thrills and entertainment guaranteed. See you at Kasarani guys.