Zakayo, Kipruto clash highlight North Rift X-Country
Published on: February 06, 2019 05:01 (EAT)
World Under-20 5000m champion Edward Zakayo and the World under-20 10000m champion Rhonex Kipruto are set to face off for the second time in two weeks when they clash at the North Rift regional cross country championships slated for Saturday at the Kenyatta Stadium in Maralal, Samburu County. The two prodigies met on January 27 at the Discovery Kenya Cross Country held at the Eldoret Sports Club with Kipruto getting the better of Zakayo after clocking 30:40.3 to win the race as Zakayo settled for the second place in 30:46.9. Prior to that, Zakayo had won the Elgeyo Marakwet County championships and will be once again on the hunt for a ticket to the national championships set for February 23. “I think there is something I did not get properly in my training but I am now going to work on it before the regionals,” said Zakayo after the Discovery Kenya race. The North Rift region competition will bring together four counties; Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot and hosts Samburu County. Meanwhile, Central Rift championship bringing together Baringo, Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties will go down at the Metipso Primary School grounds in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County. According to Athletics Kenya (AK) Central Rift first vice-chairman Barnabas Kitilit, preparations are in top gear ahead of the Saturday event. “Preparations are going on very well, we are now marking the field and we expect to select a very strong side for the nationals,” said Kitilit. The 2008 5,000m Olympic bronze medalist Edwin Soi and the 2013 African Youth 1500m silver medalist Eva Cherono will lead Kericho County in South Rift competition set for Kericho Teachers Training College grounds in Kericho County. Athletes from Lemotit Athletics Training Camp in Kericho under the tutelage of Paul Kemei are also in contention for South Rift tickets that also entails Bomet, Laikipia, Nakuru, Kajiado and Narok counties. In the senior women category, will square it out with Cherono and others for the six tickets available as the red-hot World Under-20 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet takes on her fellow juniors for 6km junior women tickets. “My athletes are ready for the contest, they have been in great form and I am hopeful they can continue that way on Saturday,” said Kemei. Similarly, Vihiga, Bungoma, Kakamega and Busia counties will converge at the Ebnagwe grounds in Vihiga County for the Western region championships. “All the four counties have confirmed their participation and thus we will be finalising our preparations by Thursday,” said AK Western Region acting chairman Patrick Kipsang. Elsewhere, Machakos School will play host to Southern region championship as athletes from Nairobi region clash at the Posta Grounds along Ngong Road. The top six athletes in each category- 6km junior women, 8km junior men, 10km senior men and women- will earn tickets to the nationals earmarked for February 23 at the Eldoret Sports Club. The championship will also double up as the trials to select team Kenya for the World Cross Country championships slated for March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.