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Ace Kenyans in Cape
- Updated: March 15, 2012
The powerful Kenyan team will be on display at the CAA Africa Cross Country Championships in Cape Town on Sunday.
The east African nation will be defending their African title at Keurboom Park, Rondebosch. With no World Cross-Country Championships scheduled for 2012, the African Championships will serve as the biggest cross-country event this year.
Kenya also dominated the World Cross-Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain in March 2011 with other African countries Ethiopia and Uganda finishing second and third respectively. Eritrea finished fourth, just ahead of South Africa, for their best ever team performance.
In 2011 Kenya’s team took the first four positions in the senior men’s race, the first five positions in the senior women while the junior men and women made a clean sweep of the first six positions. This year the Kenyan team will only send four athletes in each category to defend their title. This policy carries an element of risk as should a team member have to withdraw, Kenya they will not be eligible for the team prize as four athletes are required to finish.
As a matter of tradition, Kenya organised trials to designate their representatives. Thus, no reigning African champion (both junior and senior) will be present at these championships.
The senior men’s team consists of Frederick Ndunge, Timothy Kiptoo, Vincent Chepkok and Clement Langat while the senior women are Joyce Chepkirui, Margareta Muriuki, Emily Chebet and Esther Ndiema.
Vincent Chepkok is, on paper, the most experienced of the men’s team. He finished third at the 2011 World Championship.┬áThe 23-year-old has represented his country in five cross-country events this year alone including a 10km in San Giorgio (second), 12km races in Nakuru and Nairobi (finished third), 10.7km in Amorebieta (second) and 10.8km in Sevilla where he finished eighth.┬á At the end of February Chepkok also competed at the World’s Best San Juan 10km where he finished second (28:11).
The 21-year-old Frederick Ndunge, a middle and long distance athlete, finished fourth at the Kenyan National Championships on 18 February while Timothy Kiptoo finished second.┬áKiptoo specialises in distances such as 10km and half marathons; his personal best in the 10km of 27:45 run in Utrecht on 25 September 2011.┬á His best half marathon time is 62:40 (Klazienveen, 28 May 2011).┬áClement Langat crossed the line sixth at the Kenyan national championships and has represented his country internationally at various track and field meetings in the 1500m and 5000m since 2009 where he has always finished within the top seven.
Of the women, Joyce Chepkirui is an athlete with an outstanding track record since the start of her athletics career in 2007.┬á She competed at a cross-country event in Eldoret, Kenya in January this year, claiming victory and then proceeded to the national championships on 18 February, winning the title.┬á At the World’s Best San Juan 10km race (26 February) Chepkirui finished second in 31.09.
Other women include Margaret Muriuki (second at the National Championships), Emily Chebet and Esther Ndiema.┬á Chebet, the former 8km World Cross-Country champion (2010), finished fourth at the Kenyan National Championhips in February.
The full list of teams entered are: South Africa, Kenya, Eritrea, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Congo, Egypt, Uganda, Mauritius, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Sudan, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe
Programme of events
10am Junior Women ÔÇô 6km
10:30 Junior Men – 8km
11:10 Medal Ceremony ÔÇô Juniors
11:30 Senior Women ÔÇô 8km
12:10pm Senior Men ÔÇô 12km
12:50 Development Run Juniors ÔÇô 4km