Athletes shake off rust in opening leg of AK Relay Series

Noah Kibet celebrates winning men's 1000m race

Noah Kibet celebrates winning men's 1000m race during first leg of Athletics Kenya Relay Series at Nyayo Stadium, on January 9, 2021.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Different from other competitions, the distance for the races were made longer, with Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president Paul Mutwii explaining that the move was meant to "test the athlete’s endurance"
  • In the race that attracted 17 runners, Kipsang took the lead in the last bend to win the race in four minutes and two seconds
  • It was a tough battle in the men’s 1000m (800m), with Noah Kibet beating Cornelius Tuwei by three seconds


Abel Kipsang of Kenya Police Saturday put up a strong fight, under morning showers at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, to win the men's 1600m (1500m) in the first leg of Athletics Kenya Relay Series.

Different from other competitions, the distance for the races were made longer, with Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president Paul Mutwii explaining that the move was meant to "test the athlete’s endurance.”

He clarified that AK will revert to normal distances in the second and third legs as well as the national trials for 2021 World Relay Championships set for Silesia, Poland from May 1 to 2.

In the race that attracted 17 runners, Kipsang took the lead in the last bend to win the race in four minutes and two seconds. His compatriots Tony Kemboi and Elias Ngeny clocked 4:04.5 and 4:04.7 respectively.

"Winning today (Saturday) is a good way of starting the series, because the race was not easy. I believe if I continue working hard, I will perform better in the upcoming competitions,” said Kipsang.

But the women’s category was less competitive, as only three runners battled it out.

Nancy Sang of KDF won in 5:34 after leading from start to finish. She beat Kenya Police's Jackline Cherono and Margaret Nduta who timed 6:20 and 6:26 respectively. "I am happy with the win but this is just the start. I still have to work hard to perform well in the other remaining legs,” she said.

Nancy Sang (082), Jackline Cherono (083) and Margaret Nduta (081) compete in the women's 1000m race

Nancy Sang (082), Jackline Cherono (083) and Margaret Nduta (081) compete in the women's 1000m race during first leg of Athletics Kenya Relay Series at Nyayo Stadium, on January 9, 2021.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

It was a tough battle in the men’s 1000m (800m), with Noah Kibet beating Cornelius Tuwei by three seconds. Kibet triumphed in 2:20.03 while Tuwei timed 2:20.06. Nicholas Kiplagat came third in 2:21.04.

In the women’s category, which only attracted seven competitors, Vivian Chebet won in 2:46.7, ahead of Judy Jepkoech and Penina Wangari who finished in 2:48.3 and 2:49.4 respectively.

The men’s 150m (100m) had the highest number of competitors, forcing the organisers to stage eight heats. National Champion Mark Otieno emerged the overall winner in 15.5 seconds, leaving Zabloan Ekwan and Gilbert Osure to settle for second and third positions in 15.8 and 16.0 seconds respectively.

Kenya Prison’s Doreen’s Waka emerged first in women’s 150m that had three heats in 18.4 seconds. Kenya Police’s Monica Safania finished second in 18.7 seconds while Joy Akinyi was third in 18.9 seconds.

Mary Moraa won the women’s 500m (400m) in 71 seconds.

Mark Otieno (035) competes with Gilbert Otieno (right) in men's 150m race

Mark Otieno (035) competes with Gilbert Otieno (right) in men's 150m race during first leg of Athletics Kenya Relay Series at Nyayo Stadium, on January 9, 2021.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

With more Kenyan athletes still getting banned for doping offences, Mutwii reiterated the dire consequences that await those who will be found guilty moving forward.

This follows the signing into law the Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill by President Uhuru Kenyatta. "If you are caught now it will not just be a ban only, but you will also face the courts," he said.

The second and third legs will take place on January 23 and February 6 respectively before the national trials on March 3 at the same venue.

Collated results

1600m

Men

Abel Kipsang   4:02.3

Tonny Kemboi 4:04.5

Elias Ngeny       4:04.7

Vincent Keter    4:05.0

Laban Kiptum    4:08.1

Women

Nancy Sang     5:34.3

Jackline Cherono 6:20.0

Margaret Nduta 6:26.1

1000m

Men

Noah Kibet 2:20.3

Cornelius Tuwei 2:20.6

Nicholas Kiplagat 2:21.4

Vincent Keter 2:22.6

Kipng'etich Ng’eno 2:23.3

Women

Vivian Chebet 2:46.7

Judy Jepkoech 2:48.3

Penina Wangari  2:49.4

Quailyne Kipror 2:50.5

Christine Ndanu 2:52.9

400m

Men

Kevin Kiprotich 62.6

William Rayian 62.9

David Sanayek 63.5

Geoffrey Kapelo 63.7

Geoffrey Mutai 63.9

Women

Mary Moraa 71.0

Sylvia Chesebe 72.9

Janet Chepkoech 75.0

Mueni Kalimi 76.7

Mercy Yorop 79.4

300m

Men

Ferdinand Omanyala 32.9

Dan Kiviasi 33.5

Zablon Ekwam 33.18

Hesbon Ochieng 34.0

Joshua Ndumbi 34.1

Women

Evangeline Makena 40.3

Anne Mbathia 40.9

Gladts Mumbe 41.2

Doreen Waka 41.5

Monica Safania 41.5

150m

Men

Mark Otieno 15.5

Zablon Ekwam 15.8

Gilbert Osure 16.0

Hesbon Ochieng 16.1

Brown Muthara 16.1

Women

Doreen Waka 18.4

Monica Safania 18.7

Joy Akinyi 18.9

Evangeline Makena 19.1

Lavender Amudavi 19.4

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