Athletes' endurance tested after Covid-19 hiatus
National 100m champion Mark Otieno reigned supreme at the first leg of the Athletics Kenya Relay Series at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.
Otieno braved stiff competition to win the men’s 150m (100m) race in 15.5 seconds.
The competitions’ distances were made slightly longer and Athletics Kenya’s vice president Paul Mutwii elucidated that:
“The move aims at putting athletes’ endurance to test. However, we (AK) will revert to standard distances in the subsequent two legs and the national trials for 2021 World Relay Championships set for Silesia, Poland from May 1 to 2.”
The second and third legs will be held on January 23 and February 6 respectively before the national trials on March 3 at Nyayo National Stadium.
This particular sprint race attracted the highest number of entries who braved the morning showers to vie for the honours. Otieno’s splendid performance consigned Zabloan Ekwan who timed 15.8 seconds to the second position and Gilbert Osure to third place after clocking 16.0.
In the women’s 150m race, Kenya Prison’s Doreen Waka came home in 18.4 seconds. Kenya Police’s Monica Safania crossed the line in 0.3 seconds later and Joy Akinyi finished third in 18.9.
The men’s 1,600m (1,500m) saw Kenya Police’s Abel Kipsang beat a strong field of 17 to win in 4:02.0 as Tony Kemboi and Elias Ngeny sealed the podium places by timing 4:04.5 and 4:04.7 respectively.
“This is a good start to the series. It was not easy though. I have to keep pumping in the work to improve my time in the upcoming races,” said Kipsang.
The less captivating women’s 1,600m (1,500m) competition with three runners only saw Kenya Defence Forces’ Nancy Sang lead from start to finish, winning in 5:34. Kenya Police’s Jackline Cherono (6:20) and Margaret Nduta (6:26) settled for the second and third places respectively.
Men’s 1000m (800m) was fiercely contested with Noah Kibet beating Cornelius Tuwei by three seconds to claim the decoration. Kibet cruised to victory in 2:20.03, while Tuwei clocked 2:20.06 and Nicholas Kiplagat timed 2:21.04 for the second and third places.
Vivian Chebet bossed the women’s 1,000m (800m) and won in 2:46.7, ahead of Judy Jepkoech (2:48.3) and Penina Wangari (2:49.4) in the podium.