Sebastian Kimaru and Grace Loibach stunned strong fields to win the senior men’s and women’s 10km races respectively to make Team Kenya to the World Cross Country Championships set for February 18th in Bathurst, Australia.
The duo booked their tickets after dominating the national trials held on Saturday at the Kenya Prisons Staff Training College, Ruiru.
Kimaru produced a killer kick with one kilometer to go to win the race in 28:22.5 as Daniel Simiu settled for second in 28:28.0.
Former half marathon world record holder Kibiwott Kandie finished third in 28:30.3 ahead of Emmanuel Kiprop of Kenya Defence Forces, who returned 28:31.8.
Others who made the men’s team include Nicholas Kipkorir and seasoned cross-country, track and road runner Geoffrey Kamworor.
Front-running Loibach (32:32.3) took control of the women’s race with two laps covered to beat Edinah Jebitok and 2017 World Cross Country champion Irene Cheptai to second and third places in 32:37.1 and 32:53.3 respectively.
Loibach, Jebitok and Cheptai will be accompanied by Agnes Jebet, Viola Chepngeno, Emily Chebet and Beatrice Chebet, who received a wildcard from the panel of selectors after failing to finish the race due to illness.
“I have a strong team in Jebitok and Cheptai, who should guide me well in training,” said Loibach, who is making her national team debut.
World Under-20 3,000 meter steeplechase champion Faith Cherotich won the junior women’s race as she sets sight on another global title.
Cherotich will partner Sheila Chebet, who was second in 19:32.8 alongside Joyline Chepkemoi (19:35.5). Others are Nancy Cherop, Marion Chepngetich and Diana Cherotich.
Ismael Kirui from Torongo will spearhead the men’s U-20 team after producing a dormant performance to win his category.
Kirui, who also won the Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Machakos, Kapsokwony and Ol Kalou, timed 23:02.9.
“I failed to make the 5,000m team for the world under-20 in Cali because of a leg injury but I feel okay now,” said Kirui.
Kirui will partner Raynold Kiprono, the world under-20 1500m champion, Dennis Kipkirui, Raphael Dabash, Gideon Kipngetich and Charles Rotich.
World Athletics Under-20 Championships medallists Emmanuel Wanyonyi and Brenda Chebet will lead Kenya’s charge in mixed relays.
Others include Miriam Cherop, Beatrice Chepkoech, Daniel Munguti, Mathew Kipsang and Abel Kipsang.
1. Sebastian Kimaru 28:22.5
2.Daniel Simiu 28:28.0
3. Kibiwott Kandie 28:30.3
4. Emmanuel Kiprop 38:31.8
5. Nicholas kipkorir 28:34.2
6. Geoffrey Kamworor 28:34.6
1. Grace Loibach 32:32.2
2. Edinah Jebitok 32:37.1
3. Irene Cheptai 32:53 1
4. Agnes Jebet 32:59.2
5. Viola Chepngeno 33:13.2
6. Emily Chebet 33:26.2
7. Beatrice Chebet
1. Faith Cherotich 19:16.0
2.Sheila Chebet 19:32.8
3. Joyline Chepkemoi 19:35.5
4. Nancy Jerop 19:39.0
5. Marion Chepngetich 19:48.1
6.Diana Cherotich 19:57.5
1. Ismael Kirui 23:02.9
2. Raynold Kipkorir 23:06.7
3. Dennis Kiokirui 23:12.5
4 . Raphael Dabash 23:16.7
5. Gideon Kipngetich 23:22.9
6.Charles Rotich 23:28.7