What you need to know:
- The day also belonged to Matthew Samperu from Run Together, who edged out teammate Isaac Too in a sprint finish to claim men's 10,000m victory
- Former national 100m champions Maximilla Imali and Eunice Kadogo from Police also staged standout performances in 100m heats to reach the final
- Moraa, now the 800m specialist, timed 54.81 to take the first heat, beating Abigael Chepkemei (Ndura) and Getrude Asego (Police) in 56.96 and 57.89 respectively
Japan-based Rebecca Mwangi stunned a rich field to win women’s 5,000m as the First Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meeting got underway at the Nyayo National Stadium on Friday.
The day also belonged to Matthew Samperu from Run Together, who edged out teammate Isaac Too in a sprint finish to claim men's 10,000m victory.
Former national 100m champions Maximilla Imali and Eunice Kadogo from Police also staged standout performances in 100m heats to reach the final.
The 2015 African Games 400m silver medallist Bonface Mweresa from Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) returned the fastest qualifying time in men’s 100m, winning his heat in 10.43 seconds.
Benson Ogot (10.50) from Uganda, TKD’s Tazana Kamanga (10.63) and KDF's Stephen Oluoch (10.70) also won their respectively 100m heats to sail through to the next round of the men’s 100m that had 17 heats comprising 164 athletes.
Africa Under-18 400m silver medallist Linda Kageha (KDF), national champion National 400m champion Mary Moraa (Police) and Veronica Mutua (Police) prevailed in their 400m semi-finals to set up a thrilling final on Saturday.
It was a three-horse battle at the front when 20-year-old Mwangi, Sandra Chebet from Lemotit Club in Londiani and individual Sheila Jepkirui took the bell.
But it’s Mwangi, who went clear to win in 15 minutes and 25.56 seconds, beating seasoned Chebet to second place in 15:25.90 as Jepkirui settled third in 15:28.61.
Sheila Chepkirui, the 2016 Africa 5,000m champion, came in fourth in 15:33.37 followed by Mary Munanu from Embu in 15:40.76.
“I knew Chebet and Chepkirui would be tough owing to their experience but I had to make my presence felt,” said Mwangi, who hopes to get the ticket to the World Athletics Championships due July 15-24 in Oregon, United States. “I really enjoyed the race.”
Samperu turned on style to claim victory in men’s 10,000m first heat in 29:05.09 that produced three fastest times. Too settled second in the heat with 29:05.72 as Pius Karanja clocked 29:12.41 for third place.
The 25-lap race had three heats made of 50 entrants.
Nelson Mandela from Ndumbi Club won the third heat in men’s 10,000m with the fourth fastest time of 29:25.88 while Mfae’s Cosmas Mwangi, who finished fourth in the first heat, returned the fifth fastest time of 29:27.02.
Imali, who is returning from a nagging hamstring injury clocked 12.09 to reign supreme in women’s 100m opening heat, beating Diana Chebet also from Police in 12.49.
“It feels good to be back and I hope for the best this season,” said Imali, who is eyeing a return at the World Athletics Championships due July 15-24 in Oregon, United States.
Kadogo, the 2015 African Games 100m silver medallist, downed the second fastest time of 12.11 on her way to win the second heat, edging out Doreen Waka from Prisons to second place in 12.21.
Joy Akinyi downed 12.35 to win the third heat as Laventer Amutavi (God Speed) and Millicent Ndoro (Police) timed 12.56 and 12.43 to win the fourth and fifth heats in women’s 100m respectively.
Kageha crossed the line in 54.62 to win women’s 400m third heat, beating Damaris Mutunga (Southern) in 55.63 followed by Hadija Mercy (Prisons) 56.02.
Moraa, now the 800m specialist, timed 54.81 to take the first heat, beating Abigael Chepkemei (Ndura) and Getrude Asego (Police) in 56.96 and 57.89 respectively.
Mutua claimed the second heat in 56.54, seeing off teammate Sandra Chepkoech in 59.42.