Flare, thrills at Sirikwa Classic

Monday, February 5th, 2024 04:32 | By
Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour in Eldoret on Saturday. PHOTO/Print

Kenyan athletes displayed class as they cruised to stunning wins at the third edition of Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour in Eldoret on Saturday.

Pre-race favorites Daniel Simiu Ebenyo and Emmaculate Anyango claimed victory in a spectacular contest staged at the Lobo Village in Kapseret, on the outskirts of Eldoret town.

Ebenyo, the World 10,000m silver medallist took the lead from gun to finish, fighting off a blistering pace unleashed by World Cross Country champion Ishmael Kipkurui who finished second in the senior men’s 10km race.

The winner clinched the title in 29:19 as Kipkirui came home in 29:18. Olympian Weldon Kipkirui closed the podium in a time of 29:27.

“I knew it would not be a walk in the park. I promised myself to do the best and I have done it. I had a stomach problem in the second lap but I passed where my coach was following from and I felt encouraged,” Simiu said.

Anyango, and 2022 ABSA Run Your City Joburg 10km champion Emmaculate Anyango triumphed in the tough women’s contest.

The second fastest woman in the women’s 10km sent a warning shot as she confirmed her steady rise to stardom.

Last month, the 23-year-old star placed second at the Valencia Ibercaja 10km where she tipped under 29 minutes behind World Record breaker Agnes Ngetich.

She cut the tape in 32:55, beating London Marathon winner Joyciline Jepkosgei and World Road Running Half Marathon bronze medallist Catherine Reline. Jepkosgei and Reline crossed the finish line in 33:10 and 33:18 to take the second and third places.

The women’s race started with Anyango dictating the proceedings from the start.

She sustained the momentum after a head-to-head battle with Reline who ran out of gas in the final lap, giving way for Jepkosgei to sprint to second place.

“I promised my coach a win and I am happy I delivered. I love taking the lead right from the start and it has worked for me,” Anyango, a pre-race favorite, said after winning.

She went ahead to say: “I am going back to training in preparation for the World Cross Country Championships. My target this year is to compete at the World Cross Country Championships and the Olympic Games.”

Mathew Kipkoech claimed victory in the 8km junior men’s race, clocking 23:32 ahead of Samuel Wanjiru Kibathi and Charles Rotich who ran 23:37 and 23:40 to book their places on the podium.

“The competition was tough but I did my best to secure victory. I won Discovery Kenya Cross Country last weekend and I am happy to claim another victory,” Kipkoech said.

Mercy Chepkemoi took the junior women’s 6km title in a tough face-off that saw ten women racing under 21 minutes. She defeated Diana Chepkemoi and Sheila Jebet.

Chepkemoi promised to train hard ahead of the upcoming Africa Cross Country championships.
Top finishers in the Eldoret showdown made it to the Kenyan team to Africa Cross Country championships set for Tunis, Tunisia on February 25.

A contingent of foreign took part in the World Cross Country tour.

ABSA Rift Valley regional manager Julius Songok said the event lived up to its billing. The bank is the event’s sponsor.

Race director Barnaba Korir described the huge number of children who took part in the kids competitions as impressive.

More on Sports