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Champion Taki bests indoor champion Kipruto in trial race

By Amos Abuga
Friday, August 7th, 2020
Some of the athletes who participated in the1,000m time trial race held at the newly refurbished Kericho Green Stadium yesterday. Photo/PD/AMOS ABUGA
In summary

Amos Abuga

Former world 1,500m Under-20 champion Kumari Taki beat 2020 world 800m indoor champion Collins Kipruto in a 1,000m time trial race held at the newly refurbished Green Stadium in Kericho yesterday morning.

The race came a few hours after Kenyan athletes were given the green light to travel to Monaco, France, for the opening leg of the rescheduled Diamond League series slated for August 14.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were fears that Kenyan athletes could be locked out of the meet due to travel restrictions to Schengen countries.

The development was confirmed by Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnabas Korir, who said it is a win for Kenya that came as a result of serious diplomacy.

“We could have wished to have more athletes going for the Diamond League meet in Monaco, but again when you look at the challenges we face then one has to appreciate the numbers that have been cleared.

For the athletes who were issued with travel visas, one condition is that they have to be tested for the virus 72 hours before departure,” he revealed.

Some of the athletes who participated in the1,000m time trial race held at the newly refurbished Kericho Green Stadium yesterday.  Photo/PD/AMOS ABUGA

Taki outsprinted in-form Kipruto in the home stretch to carry the day in a time of 2:19.02.

Kipruto took second place in 2:19.68 with Tony Kemboi coming in third place in a time of 2:19.96.

While Taki won, it is Kipruto who is headed to the Diamond League season opener after he was confirmed Wednesday evening. 

“God willing, I will be traveling to Monaco on Monday. I am delighted to be among the 11 Kenyans who have been cleared  to travel to Europe for the race.

Since I was in the waiting list, it is even more exciting,” disclosed Kipruto who was cheered on by world 800m bronze medalist Ferguson Rotich from the stands.

Coincidentally, Rotich too was handed his Visa on Wednesday.

He added, “I think it will be prudent for us athletes to adhere to the strict protocols which are aimed at the containment of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Taki, who hails from Olokurto ward, Iltuati village in Narok County said it was great to get back to competetive running having been inactive since participating at the indoors championships back in February.

“I want to thank my coach and management for making this possible. For me, today was even rewarding to run on this surface since most of our training was done on the road.

To post such time is also encouraging,” said Taki who is one of the athletes who have been confirmed for the Kip Keino classic in Nairobi on September 26.

The race was organised by coach Jacob Langat of Nyahururu Athletics Club, Gabriel Kiptanui of Kericho Teachers Training camp and Charles Mutai of Ngong with the athletes savouring the newly-laid synthetic track. 

With no athletics events,  more so the weekend meets that are usually used to gauge preparedness of the runners, Lang’at said the the trial couldn’t have come at a better time.

“The year has been very challenging for everyone. For us coaches we can’t even tell which athlete is ready.

The innovative event has helped me confirm that I have a number of athletes ready to compete,” he noted.

 Four-time Kenya Defence Forces KDF 800m Champion Nicholas Kiplagat  and his counterpart Cornelius Kiplangat (1,500m) are some of the 12 athletes who took part in the time trial event.