Kimais, Chirchir seal African Games tickets
Kenya Defence Forces’ Irene Kimais strolled to a comfortable victory in the women’s 10,000m as the trials for African Games entered its second day at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Kimais crossed the finish line in 32:23.11 ahead of Monica Chirchir who finished second in 32:28.32 while Carolyne Nyaga came in third in 32:30.63.
After a rather slow pace in the opening laps, the trio- together with the 2015 Africa Games 10,000m champion Alice Aprot, Sandrafelis Chebet and Qualyne Kiprop formed the leading pack.
With two laps to go, Kimais pushed ahead as Chirchir trailed her closely but going to the last lap Kimais powered on to victory with Chirchir closing on to clinch the other automatic slot.
“I think it was my day. I was wary of tough competition because my competitors were equally strong. It was my first time competing in track, I tried cross country but I did not make the team to Aarhus, Denmark,” reflected Kimais.
The 22-year-old, who trains in Kapsabet, said she was wary of the tough task that awaits them as they will be defending the title won by Aprot in the last Championship held in 2015.
“I know it won’t be easy but everything is achieved through hard work,” said Kimais.
On her part, Chirchir -who won the Athletics Kenya track and field meet in Narok- said she is eager to represent Kenya for the first time in her career.
“I think today’s race was faster as compared to the Narok meet. I am happy to earn my first appearance in the national team,” said the 21-year-old who trains in St Patricks, Iten under brother Colm O’ Connell.
Eunice Kadogo won the women 100m race in 11:98 ahead of Freshia Mwangi (12.27) and Joan Cherono (12.38) who came in second and third respectively.
Olympic Games 800m bronze medalist Margaret Nyairera made through to the finals in 200m after finishing second in semis clocking 25.16 behind Eunice Kadogo (24.81). Maureen Thomas won the other semifinal in 24.30 ahead of Joan Cherono (24.89).
Saturday marks the end of the three-day event with the majority of the finals lined up as AK seeks to select at least 65 athletes to represent the country in the continental showpiece earmarked for August 23 to September 3 in Casablanca, Morocco.