What you need to know:
- It’s the Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medallist, who sealed a double, winning his maiden 5,000m title, two days after bagging his second 10,000m title
- Hurdles Wiseman Were (men) and Rukia Nusra (women) were declared the best male (victor) and female (victoress) athletes during the three-day championships
- Vivian Chebet sealed a double, winning her maiden 800m title besides reclaiming the 400m as Cornelius Tuwei was installed as the new 800m king
Teenager Simon Koech brought Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase bronze medallist Benjamin Kigen’s steeplechase reign as the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships to an end on Friday at Ulinzi Sports Complex.
It’s the Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medallist Kibiwott Kandie, who sealed a double, winning his maiden 5,000m title, two days after bagging his second 10,000m title.
Hurdles Wiseman Were (men) and Rukia Nusra (women) were declared the best male (victor) and female (victoress) athletes during the three-day championships.
The thrilling championships saw a team of 40 athletes picked for Athletics Kenya National Championships scheduled for June 22 to 24 at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani.
The final day of championships was graced Friday by Cabinet Secretary for Defence Aden Duale and Chief of Defence Forces Francis Ogolla.
Were, the national 400m hurdles and 110m hurdles retained the titles in his specialties besides going for the 400m and 4x400m crowns as Nusra also claimed a quartet, winning 100mh, 100m, 200m and 4x100m.
Vivian Chebet sealed a double, winning her maiden 800m title besides reclaiming the 400m as Cornelius Tuwei was installed as the new 800m king.
The 400m specialist Boniface Mweresa sealed a double, cashing in on the absence of the defending champion Samuel Imeta to bag the 100m and 200m top honours.
Judy Jeruto and Daniel Munguti turned the tables on defending champions Judy Kiyeng and Charles Simotwo to win their respective 1,500m titles.
Back to men’s steeplechase, Koech, the 2021 World Athletics Under-20 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist, pulled away from the pack with two laps to go to win in eight minutes and 128.02 seconds.
Koech, who is based in Bomet, edged out Kigen to second place in 8:34.41 and brought his five-year reign to a halt as Wesley Langat settled third in 8:34.95.
“It really feels great to win my first title, having just graduated from the Recruit Training School last year,” said Koech, who was confident of victory, having trained well under coach John Kimetto.
Koech, who was inspired by former Olympic champions Ezekiel Kemboi and Conseslus Kipruto and 2018 world under-20 silver medallist Leonard Bett, said he is ready for the national championships.
“My ultimate dream is to see Kenya recapture both the Olympic and world steeplechase titles,” said Koech, who hopes to make Team Kenya for the World Athletics Championships planned for August 19 to 27 in Budapest, Hungary.
“I lacked endurance since this my second race this year. I will work on that ahead of the national championships and national trials for the world championships,” said Kigen.
Kandie took the lead from Bravin Kiptoo with three laps to go to win in 13:23.49, as Kiptoo came second in 13:34.91. Peter Mwaniki timed 13:36.29 for third place.
“My target is 10,000m in Budapest and I hope I will be exempted from the nationals so as to concentrate on the national trials for the world event,” said Kandie, the world half marathon silver medallist.
Chebet took advantage of defending champion Jarinter Mawia to reign in the women's 800m race in 2:02.75, beating Vivian Kosgei and the 2019 Continental Cup champion Winny Chebet in 2:02:88 and 2:03.16 respectively.
Tuwei bolted early to win the two-lap title in 1:47.32, beating defending champion Nicholas Kebenei to second place in 1:47.55.