Day 1 highlights of the Kenyan trials for World Championships and Commonwealth Games

June 24, 2022

Hellen Obiri leading the women's 10,000m race at the Kenyan National trials[/caption]

The men’s 5000m final race opened the day’s meeting. It was a loaded field – as expected at the Kenyan trials – and one could almost feel sorry for those who would eventually not make it to the top two automatic qualifying positions.

However, the results were quite satisfying to Kenyan fans who have been following the probable qualifiers in this race. Nicholas Kimeli who has the world-leading time of 12:46.33 was eventually followed by the same runner; Jacob Krop, who had followed him while he set the amazing time in Rome as the two secured the 1-2 qualifying positions. Finishing third was Cornelius Kemboi, who also already run one of the fastest seasonal best times this year at the Montreuil International Meeting in France.

Winnie Chebet took advantage of her experience and won the women’s 1500m race in a time of 4:11.20. This was after remaining patient behind the rest and making her move just at the right time in the last lap. Ednah Jebitok, who had done most of the front running, and Purity Chepkirui finished in 2nd (4:11.87) and 3rd (4:11.96) positions respectively.

The women’s 10,000m final had a small but quality field. It was Sandra Chebet who began to push the pace in the women’s 10,000m final after a slow first 2000m, but just for about a lap and half before Obiri came to the front again and maintained the new pace. The last 7 laps of the race had some quick exchanges at the lead. At times it was Sheila Chepkirui, then Irene Cheptai, then Margaret Chelimo as the leading pack soon remained with four runners.

In the end, the 5000m world defending champion ran 31:49.55 to win the 10,000m ahead of Sheila Chepkirui (31:50.13) and Margaret Chelimo (31:50.22). Irene Cheptai finished fourth in 31:52.03.

All eyes were on Conseslus Kipruto in the men’s 3000m steeplechase race to see if he was back in his former form and with the potential to redeem Kenya’s dominance in Oregon. He quickly took to the front just after the gun went off before retreating back into the 2nd position for much of the race.

In what may look like a way to ensure the three made the team, Kipruto who was waving to the crowds to relax and Abraham Kibiwot who also appeared relaxed followed behind as Amos Serem won the race in 8:17.03. Kibiwot and Kipruto who followed in 8:17.79 and 8:18.21 stood a better chance to be included in the team even if they ended outside the 1-2 automatic positions, unlike the younger and less experienced Serem.

As Emmanuel Korir will be running in the 800m finals tomorrow, he will not be under a lot of pressure given that he now already has a spot secured for him in the men’s 400m. Korir was in the inside lane and it was only at the home straight that he appeared ahead of his competitors. Just a win was not going to be enough for him, he needed a qualifying time and he kicked harder extending his lead to finish in 44.87, a 0.03 of a second inside the qualification time. Boniface Mweresa followed in 45.79 while Kenedy Kimeu finish third in 46.38.

Winning the women’s 800m race at the Rabat Diamond League was not a fluke for Mary Moraa. Today, she upset the 1500m World and Olympic champion to win the event in a personal best and a second-fastest time in the world this year of 1:57.45. Faith Kipyegon, who had not participated in her favorite event because she already has the wild card as a defending champion, finished second in 1:58.18. The newly crowned African champion, Jarinter Mawia finished 3rd in 2:00.36.

“My main focus will be in the 1500m event, I will still discuss with my coach on the possibility of doubling at the World Championships,” Kipyegon told reporters after the race. 

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