Lesiyia gradutes to senior ranks in style, walks away with AK South X-Country title

Nickson Lesiyia leads the pack in the senior men Athletics Kenya Southern Cross Country at Machakos People’s Park on January 30, 2021.

What you need to know:

  • Nelson Mandela from Makueni won the men's Under-20 8km race in 21:27.5, beating Japan-based student Philip Kilonzo to second place in 21:29.2 as James Mwanzia timed 21:34.4 for third place.
  • Julius Muasya from Makueni claimed the boys' Under-18 contest in 16:36.3 after seeing off compatriot Caleb Munyalo in 17:20.6 as  Machakos' James Musembi clocked 17:11.6 for third.

The 2018 Africa Youth Olympics 1,500m champion Nickson Lesiyia transitioned to senior ranks in style after blowing away the field to win the senior men's 10km race during the Athletics Kenya Southern Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Machakos People's Park.

The 20-year-old Lesiyia from Makueni stayed behind 2018 Youth Olympics 3,000m champion Jackson Kavesa from Machakos and Emmanuel Lemama of Makueni, who exchanged leads in the initial laps.

Lesiyia took charge with two laps to go but had Bernard Musau (Machakos) and Makueni's Alexander Mutiso, who finished fourth at Valencia Half Marathon in December, in tow.

Lesiyia would pull away in the last lap of two kilometres to win in 27:01.6 beating Musau and Mutiso, who clocked 27:06.5 and 27:17.2 respectfully.

Kavesa, who is also transitiioning to the senior ranks, came in fourth in 27:19.6 with Lemama managing fifth in 27:24.9.
"I really focused on doing well at the nationals and I hope for a top six finishto make the tram for the Africa Cross Country Championships, " said Lesiyia, the 2018 Africa Under-18 1,500m silver medallist.

Letiyia, who is a form four student at Chome Secondary School in Makueni, is aware of the challenge that awaits him at the nationals as he singled out defending champion Kibiwott Kandie from Kenya Defence Forces and two-time World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya Police among others.

"To be the best you have to face-off with the best and I hope to represent Southern well," said Lesiyia.

The National Cross Country Championships is due February 13 while the Africa Cross Country Championships is planned from March 6-7 in Lome, Togo.

Nelson Mandela from Makueni won the men's Under-20 8km race in 21:27.5, beating Japan-based student Philip Kilonzo to second place in 21:29.2 as James Mwanzia timed 21:34.4 for third place.

Julius Muasya from Makueni claimed the boys' Under-18 contest in 16:36.3 after seeing off compatriot Caleb Munyalo in 17:20.6 as  Machakos' James Musembi clocked 17:11.6 for third.

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