Faith Chepkoech eyes perfect debut in athletics big stage

Faith Chepkoech

Faith Chepkoech crosses the finish line in the women's 10,000m final during Athletics Kenya Nationals Championship on May 21, 2024 at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Chepkoech and Kwamboka will fly Kenya's flag at the African Athletics Championships.
  • Kwamboka finished fourth at the Africa Cross Country Championships this year in Tunisia. 

They say better late than never. 

That saying resonates well with 31-year-old Faith Chepkoech, who will represent Kenya for the first time after claiming a place in the women's 10,000m team for the African Athletics Championships in Douala, Cameroon.

It was a dream come true for Chepkoech from South Rift after she finished third in the women's 10,000m race in 33 minutes and 04.0 seconds on the first day of the National Athletics Championships at the Ulinzi Sports Complex yesterday.

The placing didn't matter much for Chepkoech, who finished behind surprise winner, Joy Cheptoyek from Uganda (32:43.4), as Kenya Police 10,000m champion, Gladys Kwamboka, clocked 32:43.4 for second place.

Continental championship

Chepkoech and Kwamboka will fly the country's flag at the African Athletics Championships scheduled for June 19 to 23.

Athletics Kenya is using the two-day championships to select the team for the continental event. The first two athletes in all disciplines claim automatic places for the continental championship, while the third slot will be decided by selectors.

“I am just elated since this will be the first time I will be representing Kenya at any level,” said Chepkoech, a mother of two from Silibwet in Bomet County, where she is trained by John Kimetto and Richard Koech.
Chepkoech, whose athletics career dates back to 2013, is a road running specialist, having finished seventh in World 10km Bengaluru on April 24 this year in India where compatriot Lilian Kasait won.

Chepkoech finished 16th at Valencia 10km in 31.15 in January this year, before settling eighth in 1:11:25 at the Lisbon Half Marathon in Portugal.

Olympic Games trials

“My coaches had prepared me well for this race and it’s the right time to don the national colours and hope to perform well on track moving forward,” said Chepkoech, who will also target a place in Team Kenya for the 2025 World Athletics Championships, having missed out on Paris Olympic Games trials in 10,000m.

“They say fine wine matures with age and I think this is the right time to hit the track and discover new things,” explained Chepkoech.

Kwamboka will represent Kenya for a second time having finished fourth at the Africa Cross Country Championships in February this year in Tunisia. 

“It’s exciting and this should be a great year,” said Kwamboka, 28.