Chemutai optimistic of winning Sirikwa Cla*sic Cross Country contest

Friday, January 27th, 2023 03:00 | By
Deborah Chemutai practices in Cheptonoi grounds in Nandi county yesterday. PD/ EMMANUEL MASINDE

Africa Youth 3,000m silver medalist Debora Chemutai has set her focus on competing at the second edition of the Sirikwa Classic Cross country Tour slated for February 4 in Eldoret.

The Form Four student at Cheptonoi, who has specialized in 3,000m and 5,000m races said that she did not manage to make it into the Kenya team after finishing in 10th position at the national trials held last week at the Kenya prison training college grounds in Ruiru.

“I did not run well because I was sick but right now, I have recovered in readiness for the Sirikwa Classic cross country in Eldoret,” said Chemutai, who trains under the national junior coach Robert Ngisirei.

Sirikwa Classic is the last World Athletics Cross country meeting ahead of the World Cross Country Championships that will be held on February 18 in Bathurst, Australia.

“I have not competed for a long time, I won silver in 3,000m at the Africa Youth Championships in Ivory Coast before failing to represent the country at the Africa cross country due to the coronavirus pandemic that affected most sports discipline,” she said.

Having a bad day in 2022, she missed another opportunity to run for the country at the World Under 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, with the same thing happening in 2021 in Nairobi, Kenya.

“I have had two chances to represent the country on track but I missed both of them after finishing third at the national trials in both scenarios in the 3,000m and 5,000m races,” she said.

However, Chemutai added that competing at the Sirikwa will add value to her after missing the cut to Bathurst.

Apart from her accolades, she was also the pacesetter for 5,000m at the Kip Keino classic in 5,000m where Ethiopian Girmawit Gibrzihair won the race in 14:49.57.

“Right now my target is to train well for the title chase here at home,” she said. Meanwhile, formalities for preparation are at an advanced level, for this year’s Sirikwa Classic Gold World Cross Country Tour formerly known as Agnes Tirop Memorial set for Lobo Village, in the outskirt of Eldoret town.

Organisers led by  Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairman Ibrahim Hussein said that after a feedback from athletes they have removed muddy patches and added a water jump on the  unchanged route for this year’s edition.

Hussein explains that it was exciting for fans to watch their favourite athletes running through the muddy patches as they cheer them but it was causing injuries to the runners who competed in the first edition, last year.

“ The athletes who participated in the inaugural edition were not comfortable with the muddy patches so we have removed the mud and put water jump like steeplechase and other obstacles which will spice up the event,” said Hussein who is also the technical director of the race.

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