Battle lines drawn ahead of Prisons XC tussle
A stiff competition is expected as top athletes clash at the Kenya Prison Service Cross Country Championship slated for Saturday in Prisons Staff Training College (PSTC), Ruiru.
Defending champion Charles Yose Mneria of Central leads a star-studded line up in the men’s 10km race as he looks to bag back-to-back titles.
Despite suffering a minor injury during the Kakamega Forest marathon, Mneria will be out to defend his crown against the 2017 champion Cornelius Kangogo (North Eastern) as well as the 2016 Africa 10,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei of Nyanza.
Others in the start list are the 2007 world marathon champion Luke Kibet, Prisons 10,000m champion Peter Emase (Rift Valley), Boaz Kiprugut (Nairobi) and the former Olympic Games 5000m bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa (Western).
“Right now, I am doing well despite the minor injury I suffered last year. I have resumed training as I gear towards the upcoming season. I want to defend my title on Saturday, I know it won’t be easy but I am going to do my best,” Mneria told Citizen Digital.
In the women’s race a tough duel awaits also as African Games 5000m champion Lilian Kasait of Central face off with the world under-20 3000m steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol of Coast and Olympian Visiline Jepkesho of Nyanza.
Loice Chemining (PSTC), Sandra Chebet (PSTC), Nancy Kimaiyo (Nyanza) and Jackline Wambui (Eastern) and a host of other youngsters are expected to light up the annual event.
After failing to capture both titles at last year’s event held in Eldoret, Prisons head coach Gedion Chirchir has exuded confidence they will select a competitive team ahead of the national championships slated for February 8.
“I know this year will be different from 2018 because we have young athletes and if we can integrate them well with the senior athletes then we are going to perform very well at the nationals. We expect a very competitive championships on Saturday as I am told every region has prepared adequately for this event,” said Chichir.
The Prisons Service will use the championship to select their team for the national championships that will also act as trials for the Africa Cross Country Championships due for March 1 in Lome, Togo.
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