What you need to know:
- World Junior 10,000m record holder warns of tight fight for slots as Berlin battle looms
Olympic 10,000m fourth finisher Linet Masai says records set abroad will not count when the country’s best women runners in the longest track competition clash during the New KCC national athletics championship on Friday.
The event will be used to pick the team to the global track and field competition Berlin in August.
The World Junior 10,000m record holder gave a hint of being a senior contender in different distances when she toppled 5,000m world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia in the shorter distance in New York on May 31.
Masai said her strong performance abroad will be history when she battles it out with World Cross Country 8km champion Florence Kiplagat, Japan-based Philis Ongori, Peninah Arusei, Jane Kiptoo, Lineth Chepkurui, Grace Momanyi and Commonwealth Games champion Lucy Wangui Kabuu.
“It is easy to run abroad and win a race. But at home here, it is a bit tricky,” said the Iten-based athlete, who ran 14:35.39 in New York to Dibaba’s 14:40.93.
When she steps up to her 10,000m speciality, the World Cross Country silver medallist will focus on overcoming the jinx of twice missing the global medal.
“It has been harsh for me. I was sure of at least a bronze medal in Beijing but was beaten by American Shalane Flanagan. In Jordan, I was beaten by Kiplagat a few metres to the line,” said Masai.
Reclaim world title
The 19-year-old runner, who is being banked on to help Kenya reclaim the world title last won by Sally Barsosio, said she is working on her sprints.
“Berlin might be my stage for me to finally get the world title. But at the moment, the task is to qualify for the team,” she said.
In the men’s race, her brother Moses Masai, another fourth finisher in Beijing, hopes to stop Micah Kogo, a new sensation who is looking to redefine Kenya’s history in the 10,000m. With a personal best time of 26:49.20, he missed the cross country season with a muscle injury.
The former Africa Junior 5,000m and 10,000m champion must stop also Micah Kogo, who edged him out in Beijing to take the 10,000m bronze medal.
But Kogo, who broke a seven-year-old Haile Gebrselassie record by a second at the World 10km Road Race in Parelloop, the Netherlands, in March, will be the race favourite.
Others in the battle for Berlin include Japan-based World bronze medallist Martin Irungu Mathathi, Leonard “Fighter” Komon who has shaken off a groin injury, Bernard Kipyegon, Josephat Menjo, Josephat Ndambiri and Mark Kiptoo, the Military Games champion.