William Malel achieved a double victory in 5,000 and 10,000m in spectacular show of talent during Athletics Kenya National Bank trials at Nyayo National Stadium.
Malel’s victory in the 5,000m race, which he completed in 13 minutes 38.33 seconds, left the coaches spoilt for choice as he had earlier won 10,000m race in 28:29.3.
Selectors decided, however, that Malel should compete only in 5,000m race during the World Junior Championships to be staged in Barcelona from July 10-15. Justin Kiprop, who finished second in 13:38.87, joins Malel as the second Kenyan runner in the 12-lap race.
Team manager Eliud Wambua said the decision to enter Malel in just one race was a technical because he may not cope up with the Championships’ programme and rules.
“The Championships rules may not allow him (Malel) to take part in both 10,000m and 5,000m races because they are all enduring events. Malel may be challenged when it comes to the issue of recovery because the programme is tight in between the two races races,” said Wambua, who was named manager of the team after the trials.
Malel said: “The decision to enter me only in one race is a wise one because it will allow me to concentrate on one event during training. I hope to compete in both races when an opportunity arises in future and win medals for Kenya.”
World Cross Country Junior Champion Faith Chepng’etich won 1,500m race in 04:09.1 to earn herself ticket to Barcelona together with Nancy Chekwemoi, who crossed the line in 04:11.2. Chepng’etich will be defending the title she won in Moncton, Canada two years ago in the four-lap race.
Change of tact
Selectors had also included Chepng’etich in the 3,000m flat race together with Mercy Chebwogen, who returned home in a winning time of 9:16.76. However, she (Chepng’etich) was replaced by Brillian Chepkorir in what coach Kariuki Gekonyo said was due to a clash of time table in Barcelona.
“It will be hard for her to run in both races. The selectors had not discussed the same with her. She declined to double and that is why we have picked Brillian,” said Gekonyo.
Agatha Jeruto, fourth at the World Youth Championships, was the only female qualifier in 800m race, which she won in 2:07.25. The qualifying mark is 2:09.10. Runner-up Caren Jebotich (2:09.27) and third-placed Margaret Chelimo (2:09.97) finished outside the World Junior Championships qualifying time.
Mike Mokamba who is out to ape the exploits of his father (Elikanah Nyang’au) in sprints won 100m race in 10.56, which eclipsed qualifying mark of 10.64 to make the National team. Runner-up Duke Ogoti (10.95) and third-placed Michael Ngugi (11.02) failed to meet the set time.
Mokamba proved his mettle in sprints after he also qualified for 200m race after he won the event at the Trials in 20.9. Runner-up Duncan Nkaru who stopped the clock at 21.4 also qualified for Barcelona. His time was within the set mark of 21.55.
Isaiah Kiplagat, AK Chairman cautioned agents and managers to keep off the junior athletes until they graduate to the senior cadre.
By Oscar Pilipili, The Standard