On Saturday, Athletics Kenya named a strong squad ahead of the 5th edition of Africa cross country championships set for Chlef, Algeria on 17th March following a successful national cum Africa Cross Country trials that was staged at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi.
Focus now shifts to the team that heads to the North Africa country to defend the overall title they won in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 2016.
Double world cross country champion Geoffrey Kipsang kamworor won the men’s 10km race but he will not be taking part in the race as he sets focus to defend his world half marathon title in Valencia, Spain.
In his space, central Rifts Alfred Barkach will lead the six man squad together with Macharia Ndirangu (Central), Emmanuel Bor (Central Rift), John Chepkwony (KDF), Joseph Boit (Police) and Julius Kogo (Central Rift).
In absence of defending champion Alice Aprot, who faded off the finish position eight, Stacy Ndiwa returned from sabbatical leave to claim the women’s 10km race outpacing youngster Sandra Chebet.
Running for National Police Service, Ndiwa booked a ticket for the continental showpiece together with Chebet who competed for South Rift, Celphine Chepsol (Kenya Prisons), Margaret Chelimo (Police) Perin Nenkampi (KDF) and Rosemary Njeri of Nairobi.
It was a battle for royal as world under 18, 3,000m bronze medalist Stanley Waithaka and reigning Africa Cross Country junior champion Miriam Cherop won the 8km junior and 6km junior men and women races respectively, proving their worthy on the national map ahead of the Algeria trip.
Waithaka beat a host of other athletes to win the Algerian trip while Cherop will be defending her title she won two years ago.
Competing for Central, Waithaka redeemed his image after finishing 20th in last year’s championships to miss out on the World Cross Country Championships in Uganda.
He will be joined by Ronex Kipruto (Central Rift), Nicholas Kipkorir (Central Rift), Peter Lagat (Western), Edward Zakayo (North Rift), Edwin Kiplagat
As the only defending champion ahead of the championships, Cherop from South Rift won the race ahead of Roselida Jepketer (Central Rift), Beatrice Chebet (South Rift), Agnes Chebet (Central Rift), Hellen Ekalale (Central) and Edina Jebitok (South Rift).
Team Kenya for Africa Cross
Senior Men 10km
- Alfred Barkach (Central Rift)
- Macharia Ndirangu (Central)
- Emmanuel Bor (Central Rift)
- John Chepkwony (KDF)
- Joseph Bett (Police)
- Julius Kogo (Central Rift)
Senior Women 10km
- Stacy Ndiwa (Police)
- Sandra Chebet (South Rift)
- Celphine Chepsol (Prisons)
- Margaret Chelimo (Police)
- Perin Nenkampi (KDF)
- Rosemary Njeri (Nairobi)
Junior Men 8km
- Stanley Waithaka (Central)
- Ronex Kipruto (Central Rift)
- Nicholas Kipkorir (Central Rift)
- Peter Lagat (western)
- Edward Zakayo (North Rift)
- Edwin Kiplagat Bett (South Rift)
Junior Women 6km
- Miriam Cherop (South Rift)
- Roselida Jepketer (Central Rift)
- Beatrice Chebet (South Rift)
- Agnes Jebet (Central Rift)
- Helen Ekalale (Central)
- Edna Jebitok (South Rift)