Big names fall at U20 trials
World Under 20 5000m reigning champion Benson Kiplagat was the biggest casualty as Athletics Kenya picked a team for the World Athletics Championships scheduled for August 1 to 6 in Cali, Colombia.
Kiplagat failed to finish the men’s 5000m final, a race that was won by Samuel Kibathi in a time of 13:47.86 as the national trials ended on Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Also dropping out of the race was bronze medallist Levi Kibet.
Kibathi, who is based at Chima camp in Nyahururu and a form two student at Kurashiki High School in Japan, declared he is ready to take on the world in Colombia.
“My target is to defend the title Kenya won last year because I have made it to the team on merit. I wanted to give it another shot after emerging eighth last year. I am happy about the victory. I know Ethiopians will be our main threat but we shall work hard in training,” said Kibathi who will partner with Shadrack Rono over the 12 and a-half lap race at the global event.
There was more misery for Keringet Athletics camp as favourites Daniel Kinyanjui and Benard Yegon failed to make the men’s 3000m team.
Kinyanjui ranked seventh with his training mate Yegon placing ninth in a race that is usually dominated by bitter rivals Ethiopia, having declared they were ripe to return to the championships but the competitive trials proved something else.
The race was won by West Pokot’s Michael Temoi who stated he is yearning to face off against the Ethiopians on the global scene.
Temoi clocked 7:50.01 to win the men’s 3000m during Saturday’s final. On the plane to Cali, he will be joined by Edwin Kimosong who timed.7:50.71 to finish second.
“I have been struggling with a few injuries here and there but now I feel better and confident as we head to Colombia. It would be my delight to defeat them (Ethiopians) and reclaim the crown we lost to them on home soil,” Temoi said.
Despite amassing 16 medals to top the medal standings at last year’s edition at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani, Kenya missed out on a podium finish in the men’s 3000m as Ethiopians Tadese Worku and Ali Abdilmana took the top two places, with Eritrean Habtom Samuel claiming third place.
Temoi added that the only way for Kenya to reclaim the crown would be through rigorous preparations and harmony among the coaches.