It was medals’ day for team Kenya on Sunday July 16, 2017 as Bett and Meyan scooped gold and silver in the boys’ 2000 meters amidst over 55,000 home supporters.

With only one lap remaining in the race, the two Kenyans split off the rest of the pack to create a huge gap between them and the Ethiopians who were the closest opponents.

They now had to battle for a first place finish and it is Leonard Kipkemoi Betyt who bagged gold by finishing first in a time of 5:32.52, backed by cheers from the fans who were present at the Kasarani Stadium. He was closely followed by Cleophas Kandie Meyan who posted a personal best time of 5:33.07 to finish second while Ethiopian Alemu Kitessa finished a distant third in 5:42.10.

Comment

Kenyan participants in boys’ 3000 meters steeplechase of the just concluded IAAF World U18 Championships were able to manage a second and third place finish to add silver and bronze to the hosts' medal tally.

Edward Zakayo, who was the race favourite finished just behind Ethiopian Selemon Barega in a time of 7:49.17 while Stanley Waithaka came in third in 7:50.64. Race winner Barega finished in a time of 7:47.16 which was a personal best, with the Kenyan duo also managing to record personal best times.

Comment

Kenya emerged victorious in the girls’ 800 meters of the just ended IAAF World U18 Championships, scooping both gold and silver on Sunday July 16, 2017 to add to their medal tally.

Jackline Wambui finished 1st in a time of 2:01.46 with counterpart Lydia Jeruto Lagat coming 2nd with a personal best time of 2:02.06. Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshaesha summed up the podium with a 3rd place finish in 2:06.32.

Comment

It was a race to remember for South Africa in the boys’ 200 meters of the on-going IAAF World U18 Championships after they scooped both gold and silver.

Retshidisitswe Mlenga finished first with a season best time of 21.03 with country mate Tshenolo Lemao coming in second with a person best time of 21.12.

Luis Brandner bagged silver for  Germany after finishing third in 21.23 which was also his personal best. Mlenga and Lemao also scooped gold and silver for South Africa.

Comment

Kenyan athletes Leonard Kipkemoi Bett and Cleophas Kandie are in the finals of the boys' 2000m steeplechase. This is in the ongoing IAAF World U18 Championships at the Moi International Stadium, Kasarani.

Bett qualified after emerging top in Heat 2 of the semifinals in a time of 5:46.66 ahead of Ethiopia's Girma Diriba (5:47.86) and Turkey's Anil Kalayci (5:52.64).

In Heat 1, Kandie finished 2nd in 5:51.83 behind Ethiopia's Alemu Kitessa who finished time of  5:49.79. Other athletes who have qualified for the finals include Joel Kiplangat (Uganda), Mohammed Al-Suleimani (Oman), Saba Khvichava (Georgia), Hamza Sekhmani (Morocco) and Murat Yalcinkaya (Turkey).

 

Comment

 Kenyan participants for the World Deafympics games have landed in Turkey safely ready for the tournament which is set to kick off on Tuesday July 18, 2017. The team which left Nairobi on Thursday will represent the country in several sports including 5000m and 10000m races.

The 2017 Summer Deaflympics, officially known as the 23rd Summer Deaflympics, is an international multi-sport event that will take place in Samsun, Turkey from July 18 to July 30, 2017. The sports offered will be held in 21 disciplines, including 16 individual sports and 5 team sports.

In May, a total of 30 athletes were selected by the Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya were selected to fly Kenya's flag during the tournament.

Women's Team

Hannah Wanjiru 1500, Roselida Okumu 5000m, Juster Kwamesa 5000m, Alice Atieno Discuss Women, Beryl Wamira 100m, Ruth Awuor 100m

Men's Team

John Koech 1500m, Simon Kibai 10000m, Martin Gachie 10000m, David Njeru 10000m, Daniel Kiptum 5000m, Miachel Letting 5000m, Peter Toroitich 5000m, Saulo Mwanthi 400m Hurdles, Benson Otieno 400m, Kelvin Mugo 400m, David Ogongo 400m, Boniface Kikuvi 400m, David Wamira 100m, Paul Simiyu 100m, Elisha Wekesa 100m, Walter Walenje 100m, Kelvin Waithaka 800m, Silvanus Oginga 200m, Ben Kimitei Javelin, Lucas Wanjiru 3000m, Jacob Kibet 3000m, Kokobi Omari  3000m

 

Comment

Kenya’s ambition to bag medals in the boys’ 400m in the ongoing IAAF World Championships came to a halt on Thursday afternoon when two of their representatives were eliminated in the semifinals.

Kelvin Sawe Tauta, who had qualified for the semis after posting a personal best time of 47.36 to finish 1st in Heat 3 managed a 9th place finish in the semifinals with a time of 47.55 .His compatriot David Sanayek finish one place behind him in 10th with a time of 47.66 .
Jamaica’s Anthony Cox finished first in 46.86, with Brazilian Benedito da Silva (46.87) and Antonio Watson (47.05) of Jamaica took the 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.

In the girls’ category, Mary Moraa bettered her time of 54.07 on Wednesday to finish second in a personal best time of 53.77. Her compatriot Sharon Jebet however did not qualify, finish 9th overall in 55.34 which was surprisingly her personal best.

Comment

Japhet Kibiwott Kiprotich and Noah Kiprono are in the semifinals of the boys’ 800m of the ongoing IAAF World U18 Championships after both qualified in their respective heats.

Kiprono, who was in Heat 2, finished 3rd in a time of 1:54:10. This was behind Costa Rica’s Juan Diego Castro (1:53:19) and Morocco’s Abdellah Mouzlib (1:53:22), who were first and second respectively.

In Heat 4, Toroitich beat all contestants to finish 1st in a time 1:53:94 ahead of Morocco’s Charaf Zahir (1:54:22) and Slovakia’s Jan Vukovic (1:54:38). Melese Nberet finished the 400m race in the best time, clocking 1:52:53to finish first in Heat 3.

 

 

Comment

Kenya's representatives at the IAAF World U18 Championships in the 400m girls' category Sharon Jebet and Mary Moraa are in the semifinals of the competition after qualifying in the heats.

Moraa, who was in Heat 2 finished first in a personal best time of 54.07 ahead of Brazil's Giovana Rosalia and Serbia's Katalina Sekulic.

In Heat 4, Sharon Jebet also posted a personal best time, clocking 55.91 to finish second behind Czech Republic's Barbora Malikova (55.56). Other participants who have qualified for the semis 0f the 400m include Laura Kauffman (Germany), Shaquena Foote (Jamaica), Doneisha Anderson (Bahrain) and Niddy Mingilishi (Zambia).

 

Comment

George Manangoi has qualified for the semifinals of 1500m in the boys category after finishing 1st in the Heat 2 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. This is in the first day of the IAAF World U18 Championships that are being held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Manangoi, who is the young brother to World 1,500m silver medalist Elijah Managoi, finished the race in 3:55:00 ahead of Ethiopia's Belete Mekonen (3:56:31)and Uganda's Daniel Kiprop (3:58:68) who finished second and third respectively.

Dominic Kipkemboi also qualified for the semis, clocking 3:48:77 to qualify as number one in Heat 1 of the 1500m.

Comment

Kenya, who will be hosting this year's edition of the IAAF World U18 Championships in Nairobi will be represented by a record team of 64 junior athletes. The event is set to be held from Wednesday July 12-Sunday July 16, 2017.

On Wednesday, close to 23 Kenyan athletes will participate in 13 different events, with each of them trying to register success in their respective fields. Below is the schedule for Kenyan participants.

Morning Session

Time      Gender     Event                  Round

9:30        M             100 Metres          Decathlon Boys

09:55       M             100 Metres           Heats                  (Elijah Matayo, Kelvin Nyagodo)

10:25       M             Long Jump          Decathlon Boys     (Vincent Kilel)

10:40       W             Discus Throw      Qualification         (Harriet Chiluyi, Vivian Jeptoo)

10:50       M             1500 Metres         Heats                  (Dominic Kipkemboi, George Manangoi)

11:20      W              400 Metres          Heats                   (Sharon Jebet, Mary Moraa)

11:40       M             Shot Put (5kg)       Decathlon Boys     (Reynold Kipkorir, Joseph Nyakundi)

11:50       M             Long Jump            Qualification         (Vincent Kilel)

12:05      M              400 Metres           Heats                   (David Sanayek, Kelvin Sawe)

Afternoon Session

TIME GENDER    EVENT                               ROUND

16:55     M           High Jump                          Decathlon Boys       (Evans Kipchirchir, Micah Kipkirui)

 17:00     M          100 Metres                         Semi-Final                 (Elijah Matayo, Kelvin Nyagodo)

17:25      M          Triple Jump                        Qualification               (Vincent Kilel, Musyoka Mwema)

17:30      M          Hammer Throw (5kg)          Qualification Group A   (Victor Kiplimo)

17:40      M          800 Metres                         Heats                         (Japheth Kibiwott, Noah Kiprono)

18:15      W          Shot Put (3kg)                    Final                          (Peninah Akoth, Sharon Mukite)

18:25      M          400 Metres                         Decathlon Boys            (David Sanayek, Kelvin Sawe)

18:35      M          Hammer Throw (5kg)         Qualification Group B     

18:45      W         100 Metres                         Heats                          (Elijah Matayo, Kelvin Nyagodo)

19:20      M          100 Metres                         Final                            (Elijah Matayo, Kelvin Nyagodo)

19:40      W         3000 Metres                       Final                       (Beatrice Chebet, Emmaculate Chepkirui)

 

 

Comment

Asbel Kiprop finished third as Botswana's Nijel Moses won the 800m in London  Diamond league on Sunday.

Amos adopted Rudisha-like tactics as he followed pacemaker Bram Som through half way in 49.58 and held off the field into the home straight.

From there, it was all about Amos and his head-back, chest-out style, which saw him home in 1:43.18, his quickest time since 2015.

Behind him, there was a flurry of fast-finishers as US champion Donavan Brazier went sub-1:44 for the first time this year with 1:43.95.

That was enough to hold off Kenya’s triple world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop.

Comment

Hellen Obiri  set a new meet and Kenyan record in London on Sunday.

Hellen Obiri upset the home favourite to win in a MR and a new Kenyan record 4:16.56.

In  the women’s mile, Hellen Obiri upstaged Laura Muir’s attempt to break the British record by out-battling the Scot on home straight to break her own national best and set a meeting record of 4:16.56.

Only Genzebe Dibaba has run faster than that time this millennium while Obiri moves above Mary Slaney on the world all-time list having eclipsed Faith Kipyegon as the fastest Kenyan ever.

Jenny Meadows took the field through the first two laps a full one second ahead of schedule in 2:07.27 before Muir was left alone with Obiri on her tail. They went through the bell in 3:12.28 before a battle royal ensued between the pair over the final circuit.

As the Kenyan pulled clear to triumph, Muir was left to rue the speedy early pace as she slipped out of contention to clock 4:18.03, missing Zola Budd’s British best by just six tenths.

Winny Chebet was third while there was a Polish record of 4:19.55 for Angelika Cichoka in fourth. With the top five athletes finishing within 4:20 and best marks-for-place being set from fourth to 14th, it was the deepest women’s mile race in history.

Comment

The Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Under 18 Championships have started gaining momentum after Poland became the first European country to arrive ahead of the tournament which is expected to kick off on July 12th. The championships will take place until Sunday July 16, 2017.

Poland's contingent who landed on Tuesday is comprised twenty one athletes and ten officials.  This will be the first global track and field championships to be held in Kenya. It will also be the final edition of the World U18 Championships as the IAAF’s focus will shift towards driving regional and continental competitions.

United States, Britain, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia pulled out of the competition citing security concerns but Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry assured all participating teas that all will be well during their stay in Kenya. ``All our security apparatus and intelligence are in place in readiness for the competition.'' 

 

Comment

IAAF CEO Olivier Gers, LOC Chair Jackson Tuwei and CEO Michael Mwangi Muthee visited the competition and training venues for next month’s IAAF World U18 Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre and was shown around Kenyatta University where the athletes will be accommodated.

Work is now well under way and the Local Organizing Committee is confident the tracks will be ready in time for the championships which begin on 12-16 July. The comittee is also working to implement the necessary security measures to deliver a safe and secure environment for the athletes.

Gers praised the committee for a job well done.

 “A huge amount of work has gone into the preparation of these championships and I want to thank the organising committee and everyone in Nairobi and across Kenya for the work they have put in,” he said. “The athletes will love competing in this beautiful stadium and I hope the fans will give them the loudest of cheers.

“We have the final push in the weeks ahead, finishing off, tidying up and making sure all the final elements are in place. It's like a house; it almost takes longer to put the finishing touches on the house and to make everything right than to actually build it.”

CEO Mwangi Mathee confirmed that the LOC is now approaching the final stages of the preparations.

“It has been like a fairy tale; we have seen it all,” he said. “But the most wonderful thing is that we are now heading to the final phase and that we can see the fruits of our labour and I am very proud of the team.

“I’d like the IAAF and the government of Kenya to make sure that the work and the legacy of the investment hasn’t been done in vain. We should look beyond 2017 and make Nairobi a sports centre.”

This will be the first global track and field championships to be held in Kenya. It will also be the final edition of the World U18 Championships as the IAAF’s focus will shift towards driving regional and continental competitions.

“What we want first to be remembered is the quality of competition,” said Gers. “We want to make sure we leave behind a lasting legacy for athletics, for the country of Kenya and for the whole region. To have a vibrant, modern equipped stadium that can be reused in future championships is quite critical.”

 

Comment

Defending champion Mary Keitany will return to the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, 5 November to go for a fourth consecutive victory at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race, organisers have announced.

Keitany, 35, of Kenya, is a two-time winner of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, taking the series titles in 2012 and 2016. This year, she has already won her third career Virgin Money London Marathon in April, breaking the women’s only marathon record in a blistering time of 2:17:01.

Keitany has won the TCS New York City Marathon each of the last three years, including a dominating performance last year in which she surged ahead at the 14th mile to finish the course on a solo run in 2:24:26. Her 3:34 margin of victory was the greatest in the women’s race since 1980, and she became the first able-bodied runner since Grete Waitz to win the event three years in a row.

“Another top finish for Mary would give her the second most titles in the event after Grete Waitz," said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.

“I’m so excited to return to New York to race for my fourth consecutive title,” Keitany said. “Being among the all-time leaders in New York City is truly an honour, and while it will not be easy to defend my title, surpassing a legendary runner like Paula Radcliffe for the second-most victories by a woman in the event would be incredible.”

Comment

Kenya has officially withdrawn from the sixth edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games that are set to be held in Bahamas from 19-23rd July 2017.

The competitions will attract more than 1300 youth athletes aged between 14-18 years from the 70 Commonwealth Nations and Territories. Among the games for participation are athletics, rugby 7s, swimming, cycling, boxing and judo.

In a letter from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts, the Olympics Committee said that the withdrawal is due to limited resources, since the country has committed most of it to the world under 18 Youth Championships which it is set to host.

``After due considerations and deliberations, I have been advised to inform you that we will not be in a position to sponsor the team because most of our resources have been committed to the World Under 18 Youth Championships which Kenya is hosting. Consequently, we will not send a team to the games. Please inform the organizers accordingly,'' part of the statement read.

 

Comment

Kipchoge Keino Celebrates his 77th birthday today (8 June 2017) and while he might have suffered a setback in his leadership and administrative duties at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, He remains one of, if not the best, athletes in history. 

We take a moment today to remember President Jomo Kenyatta's message to Kipchoge Keino in 1965. The message, sent to Keino as a telegram, read;

"Many congratulations on breaking world record for 3000.By this great achievement you have put Kenya on the map of world sport. Government of Kenya is very proud of your record."

Kipchoge Keino had just knocked six and a half seconds  off a one week old record for 3000M in Halsingborg Sweden. He ran in 7 minutes 39.5 seconds. 

READ: Kipchoge 'Kip' Keino

 

 

Comment

The 2017 Safaricom Athletics Kenya National Track and Field contests will take place from Thursday this week at Nyayo National Stadium with all the 16 affiliated branches fielding their finest.

The national championships come after all the federations regions concluded their selections last weekend with new upstarts propelling themselves to competitive running.
Renewed rivalry will pity athletes from the disciplined institutions as the tussle for retention of coveted trophies play out during the three-day championships sponsored by telephone service provider Safaricom and Athletics Kenya.

As it have been characteristics with the annual challenge, new champions will emerge from the production line and big names will be missing in action after transiting to the road races running after dominating local and abroad scenes.

The national championships will be another chance for coaches to test their new talents after brilliant performance during national and regional championships. We have young and energetic sprinters taking over, said a senior sprint coach from Kenya Police Service.

A blistering battle awaits the two main rivals the Kenya Defense Forces and the Kenya Police Service as each side go for every single point to amass the maximum to defend trophies decorating their selves as the regions charm each other for superiority.

The Kenya Prison Service will be boasted by the new signees with Margaret Wambui, Alice Aprot, and Wilfred Kimitei mounting formidable onslaught.

Newly discovered Ferdinand Omanyala, Dennis Otieno, Maximila Imali and Damaris Akoth will dominate the sprints while Nicholas Kiplagat, Lydia Cheruto and Gloria Kite will send shock waves in the middle distant events.

In the field, Dominic Abunda, Rose Rakamba and Boaz Monyancha will have to up their hammer and shot put throwing skills in order to attain qualifying distant for the World championships this year.

Athletics Kenya Acting Chief Executive Officer Susan Kamau said all the 16 AK branches with take part during the three days competitions that will see most of the finals held during the last day on Saturday.

Only those who have attained the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships standards will be invited for the trials for the August global event after the national.

Athletics Kenya
Media & Communications

Comment

Taking the lead just past the three-kilometre mark, Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta ran away from a strong women’s field at the Ottawa 10k, winning the IAAF Gold Label road race in 31:35 on Saturday (27).

Among the vanquished was heavily favoured Kenyan Paskalia Chepkorir who struggled home second in 32:08 with Monica Ngige, also of Kenya, taking third place in 32:46.

Given the warm conditions – it was 23C at the 6:30pm start – it was a bold display of front running by the 26-year-old Ethiopian but she had an additional incentive to run hard from the front as the race offers a $4000 bonus to the first runner, man or woman, to cross the finish line.

The elite women were given a head start of three minutes and 10 seconds over the men’s field. Gudeta’s compatriot Leul Gebresilase gave chase but fell a mere eight seconds short of catching her as he won the men’s race in 28:43. They hugged at the finish and were wrapped in an Ethiopian flag by supporters.

“I am extremely happy for winning the race,” said Gudeta. “I was confident from the beginning and I had the feeling that I was going to be ahead of the men.”

Several times over the final few kilometres she checked her wrist watch – she passed 5km in 15:50 – and turned around to see who was in pursuit. Clearly she had destroyed the Kenyan challenge early on but it wasn’t the women she was concerned about.

“It helped that I had to run very fast so I could compete with the men, to be ahead of them,” she said.

“I had to keep checking who was behind me, how I was doing. That was all I was doing. I was more concerned about the men. Once I left the (Kenyan) ladies, I didn't have much concern about them. My concern was with the men.”

Victory in the women’s race earned her $8000 in addition to the gender bonus. Chepkorir, who has a best 10km time of 30:57, just two seconds slower than the Ottawa course record (30:55 by Gladys Cherono in 2015), collects $4000 for finishing in the runner-up position while Ngige will earn $3000.

“When I was starting the race I thought I would win,” said Chepkorir. “I got to around 5km and I had a problem in my throat, so I reduced the pace. I have allergies. When I came here I got the allergies. I was sneezing.

“I was not looking back I listened to the men coming from behind. And I heard Monica. I knew I would be number two. I am very happy.”

The men’s race had suffered with the last-minute withdrawals of 2012 winner Geoffrey Mutai due to injury and defending champion Mohammed Ziana because of passport problems. Last year’s runner-up, Yitayal Atnafu of Ethiopia, also cancelled with an injury.

But once the gun was fired, the remainder of the elite entrants got down to business and the absence of the pre-race favourites was largely forgotten.

It was Nicholas Bor, the 2015 Ottawa champion, who charged out to an early lead in the men’s race. For the past two years he has battled injuries and treated Ottawa as a comeback race. Within three kilometres, the pack had whittled down to three. The 24-year-old Gebresilase, who has a personal best of 28:12, followed closely alongside USA’s Marty Hehir of the Northern Arizona Elite Club. The trio passed half way in 14:29, but when the Ethiopian surged at 8 kilometres it was a decisive move.

“I was looking straight ahead to Netsanet; in the last kilometres she was very strong,” Gebresilase said. “But I am very happy that Ethiopians won both the competitions today. This race is very good, very well organised.”

Hehir was delighted with his performance, crossing the finish line second in 29:05. A graduate of Syracuse University, he has been training in Flagstaff, Arizona, since graduation two years ago and earlier this spring he recorded a 10,000m PB of 28:08.60. Bor, meanwhile, finished in 29:33, a victim of both the Ethiopian’s dramatic surge and the heat.

“I was definitely aiming for at least the top five so I know I was able to be up there,” said Hehir. “Training has been going well. This was essentially the race I was peaking for and I wanted to give it a shot and I did so.

“The reason Bor dropped is because the guy who won put in a huge surge so I was barely hanging on as well. I wasn't thinking too much except for the pain of it all. But I was pretty happy when I saw that Bor broke hard.”

Although he had felt faint at one point in the race, around the time Gebresilase surged, Bor was pleased with his performance. He collects $3000 for third place.

Comment

Leading from start to finish, Peres Jepchirchir proved the strongest in a race heavily impacted by harsh weather conditions to win the Ottawa 10K, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Saturday (28).

The 22-year-old Kenyan, who surprised many with her victory at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships two months ago, clearly suffered from the 22C temperatures and staggered around the finish area for several anxious seconds before crossing the line in 31:29. She collapsed and was transported in a wheelchair to the medical tent immediately to recover.

Organisers had wisely pushed back the start time by half an hour to 7:00 p.m. to try and beat the unseasonably hot weather but even this measure was not enough. No sooner had the race begun than a surprise rain shower greeted the runners adding to their woes.

Jepchirchir had passed 5k in 15:36 with a four second cushion over Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia and simply extended her lead to the finish with the Ethiopian finishing second in 32:08. Rebecca Chesir of Kenya was third in 32:40.

Ottawa employs a unique ‘gender gap’ by which the elite women are given a head start of 3 minutes 15 seconds over the men. The first man or woman to cross the finish line earns an additional USD $2000. Through the latter stages of the race Jepchirchir did everything to protect that lead. 

“At 5k when I saw that I was alone I knew that I would win the race,” said the winner with a smile. “I knew about the time difference. I knew they (the men) were coming but I didn’t see behind, just in front.”

“My plan was to push the time because I knew it was hot so I thought if I would run fast in the first half I could run a better time. Then I felt a pain in my stomach (at the finish) and I was feeling pain.”

Although she didn’t exhibit the same degree of exhaustion as her rival, Daska was nevertheless affected by the conditions. Last November she won the Great Ethiopian Run, one of the biggest races in Africa, joining some of her nation’s greatest athletes in the list of victors. Today she lamented a lost opportunity.

“The conditions were very difficult. It was very humid and at the same time it was raining,” she said echoing the winner’s sentiments. “Combined it was the worst situation and it tired me out so I couldn’t perform.”

“I was trying to keep pace with them (Kenyans) and watching how their breathing is but I couldn’t keep up (with Jepchirchir) because of the humidity, that’s why I dropped back to third place for a bit. I tried to keep up. Because this is my first time in Canada to compete I am happy with the result I got and I hope to perform better next time.” 

Morocco’s Mohammed Ziani was the surprise winner of the men’s race in a time of 28:37 just holding off Yitayal Atnafu Zerihun of Ethiopia who recorded the same time. Third place went to Ahmed Tamri, also of Morocco, in 28:40.

The trio had broken away from a group at 8k –one which included the favoured Simon Cheprot of Kenya – and watched each other continually for signs of weakness. They all took water at the same stations marking their time together as they came down the final straight. Ziani had just enough to claim victory. He knelt on the ground and kissed it moments afterwards. 

“In the first six kilometres I was not thinking I was going to win but in the last 2k I said, ‘this is my race today I am not going to give up,’ Ziani said.

“I didn’t talk to any other Moroccans about the race, I was focusing on the race to win. I am very happy that I won today.”

A member of the Royal Moroccan Guard, Ziani trains with the national team in the high altitude training camp at Ifrane and was only released to travel on Friday, a day later than scheduled. In preparation for the Ottawa race he won the Rabat International Half Marathon in 1:01:21.Organisers had wisely pushed back the start time by half an hour to 7:00 p.m. to try and beat the unseasonably hot weather but even this measure was not enough. No sooner had the race begun than a surprise rain shower greeted the runners adding to their woes.

Jepchirchir had passed 5k in 15:36 with a four second cushion over Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia and simply extended her lead to the finish with the Ethiopian finishing second in 32:08. Rebecca Chesir of Kenya was third in 32:40.

Ottawa employs a unique ‘gender gap’ by which the elite women are given a head start of 3 minutes 15 seconds over the men. The first man or woman to cross the finish line earns an additional USD $2000. Through the latter stages of the race Jepchirchir did everything to protect that lead. 

“At 5k when I saw that I was alone I knew that I would win the race,” said the winner with a smile. “I knew about the time difference. I knew they (the men) were coming but I didn’t see behind, just in front.”

“My plan was to push the time because I knew it was hot so I thought if I would run fast in the first half I could run a better time. Then I felt a pain in my stomach (at the finish) and I was feeling pain.”

Although she didn’t exhibit the same degree of exhaustion as her rival, Daska was nevertheless affected by the conditions. Last November she won the Great Ethiopian Run, one of the biggest races in Africa, joining some of her nation’s greatest athletes in the list of victors. Today she lamented a lost opportunity.

“The conditions were very difficult. It was very humid and at the same time it was raining,” she said echoing the winner’s sentiments. “Combined it was the worst situation and it tired me out so I couldn’t perform.”

“I was trying to keep pace with them (Kenyans) and watching how their breathing is but I couldn’t keep up (with Jepchirchir) because of the humidity, that’s why I dropped back to third place for a bit. I tried to keep up. Because this is my first time in Canada to compete I am happy with the result I got and I hope to perform better next time.”  

Morocco’s Mohammed Ziani was the surprise winner of the men’s race in a time of 28:37 just holding off Yitayal Atnafu Zerihun of Ethiopia who recorded the same time. Third place went to Ahmed Tamri, also of Morocco, in 28:40.

The trio had broken away from a group at 8k –one which included the favoured Simon Cheprot of Kenya – and watched each other continually for signs of weakness. They all took water at the same stations marking their time together as they came down the final straight. Ziani had just enough to claim victory. He knelt on the ground and kissed it moments afterwards. 

“In the first six kilometres I was not thinking I was going to win but in the last 2k I said, ‘this is my race today I am not going to give up,’ Ziani said.

“I didn’t talk to any other Moroccans about the race, I was focusing on the race to win. I am very happy that I won today.”

A member of the Royal Moroccan Guard, Ziani trains with the national team in the high altitude training camp at Ifrane and was only released to travel on Friday, a day later than scheduled. In preparation for the Ottawa race he won the Rabat International Half Marathon in 1:01:21.

Comment

Lilian Kasait came second behind  Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba in Eugene on Friday during a non league Diamond league event.

The women’s 5000m, which was not a Diamond League discipline, produced a commanding display by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, who won in 14:25.22 from Kenya’s Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (14:36.80) and Sifan Hassan (14:41.24).

Dibaba had been on the hunt for the world record of 14:11.15, held by her sister Tirunesh, but after passing 3000m in 8:39.21, the wheels slowly began to fall off. Nonetheless, she fought to the finish to clock the second fastest time in the world this year.

In the women’s national 800m, Charlene Lipsey took command of the race early in the second lap and ran the legs off her competitors, powering home to victory in 1:59.87 from Chrishuna Williams (2:00.62) and 17-year-old Samantha Watson, who was third in 2:01.47. Gabriele Stafford took the women’s national 1500m in 4:07.79.

Comment

A strong Kenyan contingent is expected to dominate proceedings once again at the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday (28) as the event, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, reaches its 15th year.

With several thousand competitors expected to descend on Scotland’s capital city for the full 26-mile race and the adjoining half marathon, Eddah Jepkosgei is returning to defend the title she won last year.

With the event starting in Edinburgh’s city centre and then looping out to the coast, the expected warm conditions could point to a repeat triumph for Jepkosgei who 12 months ago took victory in 2:39:53, six minutes outside the course record set in 2005.

But 2005 World Championships representative Hayley Haining, who scored second place in 2016, is also back with the university lecturer still very much competitive at the age of 45.

The women’s elite field additionally includes London 2012 Olympian Olga Dubovskaya, who is returning from the birth of her first child last year, and 2015 Brighton Marathon victor Pennina Wanjiru Ndungu.

The main marathon, still regarded as the second-largest in the UK to London, has become part of an overall two-day running festival which is now incorporating junior races on top.

Mark Woods for the IAAF

Comment

Eugene classic witnessed as an 18-year-old came back from near-disaster at the penultimate water jump to win in 8:58.78, the second fastest run of all time and a world U20 record and the announcing of a new star.

On the first evening of action at the IAAF Diamond League in Eugene, many had expected the women’s 3000m steeplechase to prove another demonstration by world record holder Ruth Jebet, but a new star emerged in the form of Kenya’s Celliphine Chespol.

In the non-Diamond League event, Chespol moved to the front with 600m remaining and appeared poised for victory, but gasps went through the crowd as she stopped suddenly after emerging from the water to fix a loose shoe. The move cost her the best part of 20 metres, with both Jebet and Kenyan compatriot Beatrice Chepkoech taking an immediate advantage.

However, Chespol recovered it steadily over the following 300 metres, then powered away up the home straight to win in convincing style, taking seven seconds off her world U20 record of 9:05.70.

Chepkoech came through strongly for second in 9:00.70, with Jebet third in 9:03.52.

Comment

Both course records fell at the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon as Kenyan duo Wilfred Kimitei and Yvonne Jelagat triumphed at the IAAF Gold Label Race on Saturday (20).

A group of eight men passed through 10km in 28:59. Kenya’s Peter Lemuya and Morocco’s Moussab Hadout fell back from the pack before the leaders passed through 15 kilometres in 43:22, paced by Timothy Kimeli.

But Kimeli decided to stay in the race and ran alongside Kimitei, Edwin Kiplagat and Evans Cheruiyot for the final few kilometres. Kimitei proved to have the stronger finish and stormed home to win in 1:00:54 as just five seconds separated the first four men to cross the finish.

Kimitei’s winning time took seven seconds off the race record with compatriots Edwin Kimutai Kiplagat and Timothy Kimeli following closely behind, sharing a time of 1:00:57.

“The race wasn’t at all easy,” said Kimitei, the African 10,000m silver medallist. “The hills were pretty tough but I kept enough strength for the finish.”

Just two athletes remained in contention before the half-way point of the women’s race as Sutume Asefa and Yvonne Jelagat reached 10km in 32:04, more than 20 seconds ahead of their nearest pursuers.

Asefa then gradually pulled away from Jelagat and the Ethiopian looked as though she was on her way to victory. But Jelagat found another gear in the final kilometre and reeled in Asefa, winning in 1:08:19 to take 48 seconds off the race record.

Asefa was second in 1:08:40, also finishing well inside the previous race record, while Kenya’s Marion Limo took third in 1:11:21.

“I’m pleased that I pulled it off and made my coach happy,” said Jelagat, whose previous best of 1:09:04 was set on her debut at the distance in Prague last month. “I had quite a lot of energy left at the end which meant I was able to speed up. When I saw Sutume was struggling, I seized the opportunity and it paid off.”

Jelagat broke the race record of Joyciline Jepkosgei who debuted here in 2016 with 1:09:07. Jepkosgei is now the world record-holder with her 1:04:52 run in Prague last month.

Although the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon course is pretty rugged, the ‘city of colonnades’ offers plenty of opportunities to run fast. “Today we got to see just how fast Karlovy Vary can be,” said RunCzech Running League President Carlo Capalbo. “I’m delighted that the men and women have met our expectations and ran so competitively and fast.”

LEADING RESULTS

Men

1 Wilfred Kimitei (KEN) 1:00:54

2 Edwin Kimutai Kiplagat (KEN) 1:00:57

3 Timothy Kimeli (KEN) 1:00:57

4 Evans Cheruiyot (KEN) 1:00:59

5 Shadrack Korir Kimining (KEN) 1:01:37

6 Donald Mitei (KEN) 1:02:11

7 Moussab Hadout (MAR) 1:02:20

Women

1 Yvonne Jelagat (KEN) 1:08:19

2 Sutume Asefa (ETH) 1:08:40

3 Marion Jepkirui Limo (KEN) 1:11:21

4 Ayantu Gemechu (ETH) 1:11:49

5 Mercy Jerotich Kibarus (KEN) 1:13:44

6 Polline Wanjiku Njeru (KEN) 1:13:51

7 Olga Kotovska (UKR) 1:14:18

Comment

Alex Korio and Irene Cheptai made it a Kenyan double at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2017 race, winning at the 10th edition of this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in 28:12 and 31:51 respectively, on Sunday.

Cheptai caught the eye in particular with an impressive performance that will confirm her rising status in the world of distance running and reinforce the belief that she can be among the medallists over the same distance on the track at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 this coming August.

She continued her unbeaten year, which includes a win at the World Cross Country Championships in March, with the second fastest time ever seen in the Bengaluru women’s race.

A conservative first half saw nine women pass three kilometres in 9:51 and five runners – Cheptai and her Kenyan compatriots Gladys Chesir, Helah Kiprop and Magdalyne Masai as well as Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa – were still together as the halfway point was reached in 16:19, at this stage well outside course-record pace.

However, Cheptai was looking comfortable and always to the fore during the first five kilometres and soon took matters into her own hands.

She gradually went through the gears in the seventh and eighth kilometres as her rivals one-by-one slipped away as they struggled to stay with the race favourite.

Despite being on her own at the front, her tempo didn’t drop over the final two kilometres and she crossed the line in the Sree Kanteerava Stadium just three seconds outside the course record of 31:48, set by another Kenyan runner Lucy Kabuu in 2014, after running the second half of the course in 15:32.

“I wasn’t confident at the start,” said Cheptai, partially explaining why she had not pushed the pace harder during the opening kilometres. “But from eight kilometres I grew in confidence and knew that I was going to win, and I was trying for the course record from seven kilometres.”

Degefa, the last of Cheptai’s opponents to succumb, hung on to take second place in 32:00 while the 2012 women’s winner Kiprop closed the gap on Degefa in the closing stages of the race but was third on this occasion in 32:02.

Korio, another former champion of the TCS World 10K, regained the title he won in 2013 with a strong second half of the race which also saw the winner run a negative split.

New Zealand’s Zane Robertson pushed the pace along with designated pacemaker Stephen Kissa, from Uganda, during the early part of the race as a nine-man pack went through three kilometres in 8:30 and then the midway point in 14:09.

However, a sharp increase in pace from the halfway point, initially instigated by Kenya’s Edwin Kiptoo and then Korio, saw the leading pack quickly disintegrate.

Korio then threw down the gauntlet midway through the seventh kilometre and no one could stay with him.

Even though pain seemed to be etched across his face for the final third of the race, Korio didn’t falter and the gap between himself and his nearest challengers – Kiptoo and Kissa having a duel for the other places on the podium – kept on gently growing.

Korio won in 28:12 with Kiptoo winning the battle for second in 28:26 with Kissa – who later said he’d decided to finish the race around the halfway point – taking third on his debut over the distance in 28:28.

“My experience after winning the race in 2013 certainly helped me today. I knew the course and I knew where would be a good place to push,” reflected Korio. 

“I realised I could win the race at around six kilometres. I was watching Zane until the 6km mark and when Zane dropped, I knew I could push it even more,” he added.

Robertson, highly favoured after his outstanding 2016 which saw him lead the world over 10km on the roads with his 27:28, struggled during the second half of the race and finished down in seventh in 28:49.

Kenya’s world record holder Leonard Komon and Ethiopia’s defending champion Mosinet Geremew were off the back of the leading group by the fifth kilometre and eventually finished eighth and 10th in 28:55 and 29:31 respectively.

An estimated 24,000 runners took to the roads of Bengaluru on Sunday for the five different races in Asia’s leading run over distance. Korio and Cheptai each took home a winner’s cheque for US$ 26,000.

Comment

Fancy Chemutai enhanced her reputation as one of the rising stars of the road racing circuit with a course record on a warm and blustery day in the Gothenburg Half Marathon on Saturday (20) in 1:07:58.

Chemutai has only raced twice internationally but the 22-year-old excelled in both races. She finished third at the Prague Half Marathon on 1 April, clocking 1:06:58 on her debut at the distance before claiming her first overseas win in Gothenburg ahead of one of the in-form athletes on the roads this year.

After a steady opening 5km split of 15:51, defending champion and course record-holder Violah Jepchumba asserted the pressure on Chemutai with a 15:32 split through 10km in 31:23. Chemutai lost contact for the first time in the eighth kilometre but fought back to level terms with her fellow Kenyan, who finished one place ahead of Chemutai at the Prague Half Marathon last month in 1:05:22.

Rocking from side to side, Jepchumba was visibly working hard and her front-running efforts seemed to be reaping their reward. She eked out another small gap just before the 15km checkpoint in 47:48 but Chemutai countered it again on the gradual incline over the Gota Alv Bridge, one of two bridges on the course.

Despite slowing markedly after an aggressive start, the course record – and the event’s first ever sub-68-minute winning time – were still in touch as they raced back through the city centre and out towards the finish-line in the Slottsskogen Stadium.

Chemutai opened up a small gap on Jepchumba through the 20km checkpoint in 1:04:31 which she duly extended on the series of small undulations in the last two kilometres to ensure her first ever international win. Chemutai broke the tape in 1:07:58 to eclipse the course record by three seconds and take the scalp of Jepchumba, who had to settle for second in 1:08:10.

Margaret Agai made it a Kenyan clean sweep in 1:09:43 with Beatrice Mutai, the older sister of Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, fourth in 1:10:14.

Geoffrey Yegon provided the first half of the Kenyan double in Gothenburg with victory in 1:00:19.

Three athletes were still in contention heading into the last kilometre but the runner-up from last year went one better this time, defeating Seoul Marathon winner Amos Kipruto (1:00:24) and Leonard Langat (1:00:33) while 2013 world cross-country champion Japheth Korir finished fifth in 1:01:39.

Defending champion and course record-holder Richard Mengich dropped out before the 15km checkpoint.

Comment

A senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) official has criticised the decision to postpone the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) elections and called for them to be held as soon as possible.

The Extraordinary General Assembly at which the elections were due to be held was called off by NOCK chairman Kipchoge Keino minutes before it was due to start on Friday (May 5) after he was served with a writ.

It had been obtained by the Kenya Taekwondo Association (KTA) after they were banned from taking part in the elections due to a leadership row at the organisation.

The case is now due to be heard on June 21, when all the parties in the dispute will be heard.

Writing in a letter address to the current NOCK leadership, IOC deputy secretary general Pere Miró also called on the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) to intervene and mediate the dispute.

He also expressed his scepticism that this was the real motivation for the postponement.

"This legal action initiated before the High Court for an internal matter that is under the jurisdiction of your NOC and the Electoral Board, in accordance with your NOC Constitution and the Olympic Charter, is very surprising and highly questionable coming from an individual/federation claiming to belong to the Olympic Movement," Miró wrote in a letter, copied to the WTF and other NOCK members, seen by insidethegames.

"Indeed, this goes against the rules and dispute-resolution mechanisms clearly established in your NOC Constitution and in the electoral regulations drafted by the Electoral Board and accepted by all."

NOCK has been facing the threat of suspension from the IOC since Rio 2016.

They only passed constitutional changes requested by the IOC in March.

Former marathon world record holder and IOC member Paul Tergat will stand unopposed at the election to replace Keino.

The decision to bar both the KTA and the Kenyan Cycling Federation (KCF), also suspended because of a row over who is leading it, was taken by the Centre for Multiparty Democracy-Kenya, an independent organisation brought in by NOCK to oversee the election.

It meant that Stephen Kiptanui arap Soi and James Chacha were unable to be nominated for the roles of the deputy secretary general and deputy treasurer respectively.

Soi and Chacha are among four Kenyan officials facing charges of theft and embezzlement following the disappearance of cash and equipment meant to help Kenya's athletes prepare for Rio 2016.

Soi was the team's Chef de Mission.

Miró wrote that the High Court order was "also contrary to the generally accepted practice within the Olympic Movement" for resolving such disputes.

The IOC had supposedly mediated a solution to ensure that the KTA and KCF would be able to participate.

"As this satisfactory and fair solution (fully compliant with your NOC Constitution) was agreed upon between all concerned parties, there was absolutely no objective reason to initiate any recourse before any court," Miró wrote.

"Therefore, it would be interesting to know the real intentions behind this action, the regrettable consequence of which is to delay, once more, the completion of the process.

"Whatever the real motivations may be, this action is clearly a lack of respect for your NOC (and the jurisdiction of your NOC General Assembly), the roadmap agreed upon in September in Lausanne between your NOC, the Ministry of Sport and the IOC/Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, and the numerous calls from the IOC over the past few months to finalise this process.

"More importantly, this goes against the general interest of the Olympic and Sports Movement in Kenya and the athletes, which is to have this process (that has already suffered numerous delays) completed quickly and smoothly."

All payments of subsidies from the IOC to the NOCK will remain suspended until the IOC is "satisfied" that the whole process is "successfully completed".

The IOC also reserve the right to suspend the NOCK if there is no progress, although they have so far appeared reluctant to do this. 

Miró concluded: "In view of all of the above, we hereby request that your NOC take immediate and appropriate steps to remedy this regrettable situation with all concerned parties and find a quick solution that will allow the meeting of the Elective General Assembly to resume, and the elections to be completed, as planned initially.

"As far as the specific situation of the Taekwondo Federation is concerned, we understand that, in addition to the above-mentioned legal action against your NOC and the Electoral Board, there is an internal dispute involving different 'groups' claiming to be the legitimate and legally established Taekwondo Federation in Kenya. 

"In view of this, and as per the usual procedure in these circumstances, we are copying the WTF into this letter and kindly request that the WTF examine the situation as a whole and further investigate, clarify and confirm the real status of the Taekwondo Federation in Kenya and their office-bearers vis-à-vis the WTF."

Keino, President of NOCK since 1999, was ruled ineligible from standing after proving unable to find a National Federation to propose him.

Comment

Kenya's Nicholas Bor was all set to defend his 2015 title and set a new course record at the 2016 Ottawa 10K, when an injury forced him to forego the race. But with just over two weeks to go before the 2017 Ottawa 10K on 27 May, Bor believes he is in the right form to do what he was hoping to do last year at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

"My body is responding well to training now, just like it was in 2015," said Bor. "Ottawa is a big race, being an IAAF gold label, and doing well there builds a good profile for my running career. It did that in 2015 when I won the race. My aim this time will still be what I wanted to do last year: to run a personal best time and if the weather conditions will be good, then I will also try to go for the course record."

Bor's 10K personal best time is 27:38, 14 seconds from the Ottawa 10K course record of 27:24 set by Deriba Merga in 2009.

It was a last minute decision to run the Hamburg marathon just two months before the Ottawa 10K last year that ended up sidelining Bor. Just 10 kilometres into the race, Bor started to feel discomfort in his feet. He pushed on with the leading pack, hoping the pain would subside, but it kept worsening until he had to pull out at around 25 kilometres.

"It was a very hard moment in my life having to miss races after all the hard training that I had done early in the year, but I am glad my management and family understood and encouraged me not to lose hope," he said.

"After having to drop out of the Hamburg Marathon, I still had some hope of recovering fast from my injury and making it to the Ottawa 10K race. I was beginning to feel better and other friends were even advising me that I should just go and see what happens in the race, but I did not want to take the risk and end up not finishing the race."

Bor thinks his injury might have resulted from trying to move up to the marathon distance too quickly since he had to change his training program to include more long runs and generally increased his weekly mileage. It was a learning experience for him.

"I won't be in any hurry again to run the marathon. Perhaps, I should first get used to pacing up to 30-35 kilometres first. That is how many other runners are transitioning successfully to the marathon distance," Bor said.

For now, Bor's main focus for this year is the Ottawa 10K and it will be exciting to watch him try and make up for what he missed last year.

Comment

Both the men's and women’s race records will be the targets at the fifth edition of the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Saturday (20).

The men’s field boasts four runners with personal bests faster than the race record of 1:01:01 that Elijah Tirop set in 2015. Of those one, Gilbert Masai, has sub-60 minute credentials. The 35-year-old has broken one hour on three occasions, most recently in Berlin on 2 April, winning in 59:17. His set his lifetime best of 59:31 in Copenhagen last September.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Shadrack Korir brings solid recent consistency to the west Bohemian spa town. He opened the year by landing on the doorstep of the 60-minute barrier, clocking 1:00:07 for seventh in Ras Al Khaimah in February. More recently he 1:01:17 in Yangzhou, finishing fifth.

Their compatriot Mark Korir is also expected in the mix for a top finish. With a 2:05:49 lifetime best from 2015 in the marathon --and more recently, a 2:06:05 run for third in Seoul-- the 32-year-old brings stronger credentials over the longer distance to the start line. But with a 1:00.48 personal best, he can't be ruled out.

Eritrea's Dawit Weldesilasie, 22, could also be a factor but he'll have to regain his form from two years ago when he produced his 1:00:26 best. 

The women's record of 1:09:07 was set last year by Joyciline Jepkosgei in her international debut. Less than one year later, the 23-year-old Kenyan, who races on the RunCzech team, went on to become the first woman to crack the 65-minute barrier with her 1:04:52 performance in Prague. Jepkosgei broke four world records* in that historic run in the Czech capital on 1 April, smashing the 10km, 15km and 20km marks en route to her half marathon victory.

Organisers hope that Kenyans Mercy Kibarus and Yvonne Jelagat, who boast performances faster than Jepkosgei's 2016 run, can set out to make the race record assault a strong possibility.

Kibarus, 33, is the most experienced of the three. She owns a 1:08:18 lifetime best from 2013, finished a creditable fifth at the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon championships, and more recently, improved her marathon best to 2:26:52 in Seoul in March.

Yvone Jelagat, a relative newcomer on the international scene, made notable progress in the Prague race, where she clocked a lifetime best of 1:09:04 to finish seventh, with a 31:46 10km time en route, also a personal best.

In all, 4000 runners are expected to take part.

Comment

Fukuoka marathon silver medallist Patrick Makau is hopeful his early return to fitness will push him forward to stage a fast race at the Berlin Marathon in September. The Kenyan, whose last competitive race was in December in Japan, says he still has enough strength to chase the world title, reports Xinhua news agency.

Makua set a world record in Berlin in 2011, posting a time of 2:03:38, but has been helpless because of nagging injuries, as his mark has been shattered twice by compatriots Wilson Kipsang (2:03:02) and Dennis Kimetto (2:02:57).

However, commenting on Nike Corporation’s attempt to break the two-hour mark with a controlled race in Monza, Italy, Makau said it was not right to stage a race like that and marathon running is all about altitude and focus and that to win in a controlled event is not good.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympics marathon champion, narrowly missed out the target of becoming the first man to run the marathon distance in under two hours with a time of 2:00:24.

Makau is not impressed and wants the Olympic champion to try and break the world record in a fast course like Berlin.

On his plans for the season, Makau was happy to be back fit and said he eyes to win in Berlin in another fast time.

Comment

A High Court order forcing elections at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to be postponed has been extended until next month. The case is now due to be heard on June 21, when all the parties in the dispute will be heard.

NOCK chairman Kip Keino called off an Extraordinary General Assembly at the Panairi Hotel in Nairobi just minutes before it was due to start on Friday (May 5) after he was served with a writ.

It had been obtained by the Kenya Taekwondo Association (KTA) after they were banned from taking part in the elections due to a leadership row at the organisation.

The Daily Nation reports, however, that the KTA's case faces a major legal hurdle after the sports registrar at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts filed court papers stating it is not a legally registered association, does not have a certificate of registration and is therefore operating illegally.

"A body is not a sports organisation unless transited under section 50 of the Sports Act No. 25 or issued with a certificate from our office," sports registrar Rose Wasike said in her court papers.

The decision to bar both the KTA and the Kenyan Cycling Federation (KCF), also suspended because of a row over who is leading it, was taken by the Centre for Multiparty Democracy-Kenya (CMD), an independent organisation brought in by NOCK to oversee the election.

It meant that Stephen Kiptanui arap Soi and James Chacha were unable to be nominated for the roles of the deputy secretary general and deputy treasurer respectively.

Soi and Chacha are among four Kenyan officials facing charges of theft and embezzlement following the disappearance of cash and equipment meant to help Kenya's athletes prepare for last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Soi was the team's Chef de Mission.

The CMD acted following a complaint from the Kenya Rowing and Canoe Association that the KTA and KCF should be not eligible to take part in the elections because they each had two different groups claiming to represent them.

The KTA argues that the decision by the CMD is an infringement on its constitutional right.

According to the Daily Nation, the CMD has urged the High Court to dismiss the case, claiming that the KTA does not have the legal capacity to file it.

NOCK has been facing the threat of suspension from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since Rio 2016.

They only passed constitutional changes requested by the IOC in March.

All 29 delegates, including the KTF and KCF, had voted unanimously for the resolution.

Paul Tergat was the only candidate to replace Keino as NOCK chairman at the postponed elections.

Comment

Photo:COURTESY

Valary Ayabei set a new record at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon to win in2:21:57. The Kenyan, who just five weeks ago had finished fourth in the Prague Half Marathon behind country mate Joyciline Jepkosgei, was determined to win the race and maintained his place in the front row from the start. She reached the 25 km mark in 1:21:23 where her pace started reducing but sensing that Ethiopian duo of Beriso and Bekele were closing in on her, she chose to maintain the pace and went on to win the race in a record time, breaking the previous record set by fellow Kenyan Lydia Cheromei in 2011. Beriso and Bekele finished in 2:22:15 and 2:22:23 respectively to take up the remaining top three slots. ``I feel good because I prepared well,'' said Aiyabei. ``I started the race very fast and I could not keep up with the pace. The bridges and the wind made it difficult but I am happy.'' This is her third personnal best following wins in Barcelona last year in 2:25:26 and Valencia last year in 2:24:48.

Comment

Kenyan Edwin Rotich and 2016 Olympic marathon silver medallist Eunice Kirwa lead their respective fields at the Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (30).

Rotich ran his personal best of 59:32 in Valencia in October last year, and hasn’t competed in a half marathon since. However, the Kenyan showed good form when finishing in 46:46 at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miles in Washington DC earlier this month. He will start as one of the favourites in Istanbul in a field that includes six men who have broken the event’s one-hour barrier.

Evans Kiplagat of Azerbaijan returns to run the city’s major half marathon for the third year in a row. His winning time of 1:00:13 from 2015 stands as the race record, though it is 17 seconds shy of his career best.

Adugna Takele, the fastest Ethiopian over the distance in 2016 with 59:40, is another outstanding name in the field. The 28-year-old crossed the finish line in 1:01:14 at the RAK Half Marathon in Ras al-Khaimah in February.

There were to be two more fast Ethiopians on the starting line, however, both Tamirat Tola and Guye Adola withdrew from the race due to injury and illness respectively.

Other leading names include Kenya’s Vincent Kipsegechi Yator, who has a best of 59:55 from 2015, and Morocco’s national record holder Aziz Lahbabi with 59:25.

Peter Kwemoi Ndorobo is not to be written off in the battle for victory on Sunday. The Kenyan ran exactly the same time in Ostia in 2016 and 2017, 1:00:13, which stands as his best.

Also lining up will be Tanzania’s Ismail Juma, who was ninth in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Guiyang 2015.

The women’s race will host Kirwa, the Rio 2016 Olympic marathon silver medallist, who also took bronze in the event at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. The 32-year-old Bahraini clocked 1:08:07 in Marugame in February, her only half marathon this year.

However, the fastest woman on paper is Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia. The 27-year-old finished in a time of 1:06:14 in Prague last year to become the world all-time number 10 over the distance.

Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich has been a fast improver this year. Starting the year with 1:09:06 in Adana, she shaved off nearly a minute from that time to win in 1:08:08 in Paris in early March, following with an impressive 1:07:42 in Milan, another victory within the same month. The next target for Chepngetich would the fourth win of the year with another improvement.

Hiwot Gebrekidan will also be setting her sights on a podium finish after she won her first ever half marathon, clocking 1:08:00 in Copenhagen last September. The Ethiopian, who will celebrate her 22nd birthday two weeks after her second race over the distance, is one of the youngest elite women to run in Istanbul on Sunday.

Comment

The chairperson of Athletics Kenya (AK) has revealed that another "high-profile athlete" has failed a doping test, just weeks after it emerged Rio Olympics marathon champion Jemima Sumgong tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. 

Jackson Tuwei said that the IAAF, the sport's global governing body, had found the positive test but said the identity of the athlete could not yet be revealed. 

Kenya's middle and long distance success has been marred by doping cases involving elite athletes. Officials estimate the number of positive tests at about 50 in the past four years. 

"There is another high-profile athlete who has also failed a doping test but we have to wait for legal procedures to be followed," Tuwei told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. 

"Obviously we cannot say who the athlete is." 

News of the test comes after Sumgong, who last year became the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic gold in the marathon, tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) in an out-of-competition test carried out by IAAF. 

Doping was made a criminal offence in Kenya in June 2016. 

Tuwei said the IAAF had rejected Sumgong's explanation about the circumstances that led to her positive test. 

"Her explanation has been rejected and she has been ordered to send a more convincing explanation before further action is taken," Tuwei said. 

Sumgong's positive test came in the wake of a four-year ban handed to Kenya's multi-marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, Sumgong's former training partner, after she tested positive for EPO in 2014. 

“We also wish to send a very strong message to athletes representatives, doctors, coaches and all athletes support personnel that those found culpable or proved to be encouraging our athletes in this line of sporting subterfuge will be charged as prescribed by the law of the land,” AK said in a separate statement on Thursday. 

Sumgong, 32, was among the six Kenyan gold medallists in Rio, which was the country's best performance at an Olympics.

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Two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha will make his 1000m debut at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on 28 June.

"I'm really looking forward to my race in Ostrava," Rudisha said. "It will be my third race of the season but most interestingly for me it's my first time to run 1000 metres!"

Testing himself in off distances isn't anything new for Rudisha who last season in his run-up to a successful Olympic 800m title defence, broke the African record over 600m at the Birmingham leg of the IAAF Diamond League, clocking 1:13.10.

But going up in distance is uncharted territory for the 28-year-old, who famously broke his own 800m world record in the 2012 Olympic final.

"I'm excited to try this race. People are always asking me how would I run at 1500. I always say that's too far to run against the miler guys! But 1000m is of course shorter and closer to my racing distance.

"I've got no time or plan in mind but I'm excited to test myself and see what I can do," added Rudisha, who will be competing in the Czech city for the fifth time.

One publicly unstated goal could be the meeting record of 2:15.08 set by Ilham Tanui Ozbilen of Turkey in 2014, the fastest time that year over the rarely-run distance.

Rudisha is the latest Olympic champion announced for the meeting's 56th edition. Previously announced were 400m world record holder and Rio winner Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa who'll contest the 300m, double world and Olympic champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, who'll compete in the 10,000m, Thomas Rohler of Germany, who'll contest the javelin, and Christian Taylor of the US in the triple jump.

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One of the most prestigious track and fields events is set to begin in 10 days time in Doha, Qatar. The IAAF Diamond League is an annual meeting that encompasses 32 Diamond Disciplines, following a championship style model. 

According to iaaf.org athletes will earn points in the first 12 IAAF Diamond League meetings to qualify for two final meetings where $100,000 will be at stake in each of the 32 Diamond disciplines, including $50,000 for each winner. 

In previous seasons, athletes accumulated points throughout the IAAF Diamond League season with the overall winner of each of the 32 events being the athlete with the most points, irrespective of whether they won the final.

The season is now a race to reach the finals with the winners crowned as IAAF Diamond League champions. As in a championship, the performance of athletes in the final alone will determine who the champion will be and the prize money won.

The Prize structure is as follows:

1st $50,000

2nd $20,000

3rd $10,000

4th $6000

5th $5000

6th $4000

7th $3000

8th $2000

This season's meeting in Eugene's 1500m womens' event will be historic as  it will see seven, out of 15, women who have ran under 4 minutes participate. The most sub-four-minute times ever recorded at the meetings. These women include Olympic medallists Faith Kipyegon and Hellen Obiri, the two fastest Kenyan women in history over the distance.

2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar reads as follows;

5 May – Doha, QAT

13 May – Shanghai, CHN

27 May – Eugene, USA

8 Jun – Rome, ITA

15 Jun – Oslo, NOR

18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE

1 Jul – Paris, FRA

6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI

9 Jul – London, GBR

16 Jul – Rabat, MAR

21 Jul – Monaco, MON

20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR

24 Aug – Zurich, SUI

1 Sep – Brussels, BEL

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Mary Keitany took 41 seconds off the women’s-only world record* at the Virgin Money London Marathon, running 2:17:01 at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (23).

Keitany said in the build-up to this year’s race she was in shape to break Paula Radcliffe’s mark of 2:17:42 and while she demurred when asked about the possibility of bettering Radcliffe’s outright mark of 2:15:25, Keitany was running minutes inside Radcliffe’s schedule in the first half.

Keitany was paced by her training partner Caroline Kipkirui, who she was full of praise.

“I want to thank the pacemaker who was taking me all the way to 14 miles,” said Keitany. “From there, I started to go alone and see how my body was.”

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Joyciline Jepkosgei won the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon on Sunday, breaking the course record of 1:08:55 set last year by her fellow country-mate Eunice Kirwa. She finished the race with a winning time of 1:07:44 to set a new record at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Jepkosgei, who is the World half marathon record-holder, was determined from the start of the race, braking off the pack with only Belaynesh Oljira of Ethiopia behind him. By 20km, Oljira was quickly closing the gap between them but Jepkosgei proved too much for her, winning the race while Oljira came in second with a time of 1:08:19

In the men’s race, Alexander Mutiso won after facing very stiff competition from Macharia Ndirangu. The two, who live in Japan and run for Japanese corporate-sponsored track teams, were tied from the start of the race. The two were together at 20km in 58:00 and Ndirangu was the first to enter the stadium ahead of Mutiso, but Mutiso sprinted in the last 100 metres of the race to pass Ndirangu and finish first. The two athletes were recorded to have finished the race at the same time, both in 1:00:57 and that is the closest ever finish at the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon.

 

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Daniel Wanjiru held off the Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele in a thrilling finish to win his first London Marathon on Sunday(23) in 2:05:48 shortly after fellow Kenyan Mary Keitany won the women’s race in a world record.

The 24-year-old Kenyan made a break just before the 21-mile mark and battled hard over the last five miles to hold off the fast-finishing favourite Keneisa Bekele, who had fallen behind after suffering with blisters caused by ill-fitting shoes.

Bekele, won ran the world’s second fastest time in Berlin last September, was just six seconds behind with one mile to go, but he couldn’t quite close the gap and had to settle for the runner-up spot, eight seconds behind the winner.

The 2016 Amsterdam Marathon champion, Wanjiru didn’t beat his personal best time of 2:05:21 today but he did beat one of the greatest distance runners of all time.

“I’m really happy as it’s my biggest win at my first attempt at a World Marathon Majors race,” he said afterwards. “I’ve been preparing to win this race since Christmas so I’m very grateful that I achieved my goal.”

The men’s elite field was set on its way at 10:00 from Blackheath by Prince Harry and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a perfect morning for marathon running.

A group of 10 east Africans quickly formed behind the three Kenyan pacemakers as the runners in the mass race streamed across the Start Line behind them.

Bekele immediately went to the front, tucked in behind the pacers, as if to signal that he would be the man to beat. He was joined by four of his countrymen, Feyisa Lilesa, Asefa Mengstu, Tsefay Abera and Tilahun Regassa, along with a trio of Kenyans, Wanjiru, Abel Kirui, the 2016 Chicago Marathon champion, and Bedan Karoki, making his debut at the 26.2-mile distance at the age of 26.

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and Amanuel Mesel from Eritrea, and the Tanzanian runner, Alphonce Simbu, completed the 10.

The pacers took the group through 10K on world record pace at 28:51, the athletes making the most of the first few downhill miles, before the pace settled down to 4:45 miles, which suited Wanjiru perfectly.

“The pace was fast at the start but we all helped each other, rather than trying to destroy each other,” he said.

It was too much for Abera though, who fell back from the leading group just as the young world champion Ghebreslassie joined Bekele behind the pace makers at the front.

The remaining nine looked comfortable as they ticked off the miles through Deptford and Rotherhithe before crossing Tower Bridge and onto The Highway, passing half way in 61:40 – the perfect pace if they were to break Dennis Kimetto’s 2014 world record of 2:02:57.

The group of nine stretched out down the road with Lilesa – the Rio Olympic silver medallist – taking his turn on the front while Bekele, surprisingly, began to struggle.

“From 15K to 20K, I was getting blisters because my foot wasn’t in a good position in my shoe,” he explained later. “I changed my running style and that affected my pace and balance, which made my right hamstring sore and slowed me down.”

Bekele’s difficulties were far from the thoughts of the leaders, however, as the remaining eight strode through the twists and turns of the Isle of Dogs, now bathed in spring sunshine. At 25K, Bekele dropped out of the top 10, still in touch but looking uncomfortable, shaking his arms at his sides.

Ghebreslassie, Mengstu and Regassa also began to feel the early pace and they slipped back to leave four in the leading group. Wanjiru and Kirui were shoulder to shoulder at the front, with Lilesa a stride behind and Karoki fourth.

Ghebrslassie rejoined them at 30K as they clicked through that mark in 1:28:21, but the five didn’t stay together for long.

Lilesa cracked as they turned west along Poplar High Street, leaving four to battle it out for the three podium places. At least that’s how it looked.

Wanjiru put in a burst as they passed mile 21 in 1:40:01, pulling away from Kirui who was 10 metres ahead of Lilesa as they turned onto The Highway and past the colourful masses on the opposite side of the road, streaming east towards Canary Wharf.

Now Wanjiru was 20 metres ahead of his nearest rival and seemingly clear. But Bekele wasn’t done. The world record holder for 5000m and 10,000m pulled himself back into third, then passed Kirui to move into second.

It seemed only a matter of time before the Ethiopian would reel in the inexperienced Wanjiru, who couldn’t resist a glance behind to assess the threat.

“I looked behind at 39K and knew someone was coming, so that gave me renewed purpose,” said Wanjiru.

“I wasn’t scared when I saw Bekele behind me; if someone’s coming from behind you have to push on to win the race.”

And push on he did, keeping the gap between the two men to around 10 seconds as the pair battled it out, thrilling the crowds lining the Embankment.

As the pair past Big Ben, Wanjiru started to look more relaxed as he extended his lead over the chasing Bekele from eight seconds to 10 thanks to a 4:27 mile.

The crowds had just seen Kenya’s Mary Keitany set a new women-only world record, and they went wild again as the two leading men hit Birdcage Walk.

Bekele responded to Wanjiru’s surge, putting in a final effort to bring the gap between the two men down to six seconds, but the Ethiopian didn’t have enough in his legs to reel in the Kenyan. He started to rock and roll as he realised the London title was slipping out of his grasp.

As Wanjiru turned onto The Mall, the victory was his. He crossed the Finish Line, arms aloft, to become the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon champion in 2:05:48, proving that mind over matter works for elite runners as well as the masses by holding off a man reputed to have one of the most devastating sprint finishes in the business.

“I am the happiest man in the world,” he said. “The fast pace at the start helped me enormously, and the rest of the race was just good for me. Everything went well, it was perfect.

“I’m looking to the future and hope to come back here to defend my title and do even better next year.”

Bekele’s second place effort of 2:05:57 was one better than his result here last year, and better than he could have hoped after his mid-race problems.

“I’m not too disappointed because anything can happen in a marathon,” he said. “I planned to run better than I did but I was 400m back at one point so to come back to the leaders wasn’t easy.

“I feel I have more good marathons in me and I plan to achieve more because that’s life: you do your best, you prepare well, try to achieve more, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”

In third place, Bedan Karoki made a great marathon debut, crossing the line 2:07:41, followed by Abel Kirui who finished in fourth in 2:07:45 to put three Kenyan men in the top four. Simbu came through to finish fifth in 2:09:10.

In the race for British World Championship selection, Josh Griffiths of Swansea Harriers delivered the shock of the day by finishing first Briton in 2:14:49 on his marathon debut.

The 23-year-old wasn’t even part of the elite field but his performance has earned him a place on the British team for the London World Championships in August.

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Ethiopia’s Bonsa Dida and Kenya’s Elizabeth Rumokol won the men’s and women’s titles at the 40th Rock ’n’ Roll Madrid Marathon, crossing the line of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race in 2:10:16 and 2:33:55 respectively on Sunday (23).

In doing so, Dida put end to the Kenyan seven-year dominance of the men's race in Madrid.

Unlike the men’s event, the women’s race kicked off quite conservatively with eight women passing through the first 10km in 37:39.

Half way was reached in 1:17:39, effectively erasing any hope of breaking the course record of 2:32:04, for the leading six-woman group including Kenyans Elizabeth Rumokol, Diana Chepkemoi, Joan Kigen and Rodah Tanui plus the Ethiopian pair of Almaz Negede and Bedatu Hirpa.

But it was always the 34-year-old Rumokol who stayed closest to the pacemaker. After appearing to run comfortably throughout, she upped the pace in the final five kilometres to open a gap of a few hundred metres on her rivals.

Crossing the finish line in 2:33:55, Rumokol became the first victor of the Madrid Marathon to run the second half quicker than the first (1:17:39 and 1:16:16).

“I preferred to run relatively slow at the beginning because the race is full of ups and downs areas,” said a joyful Rumokol. “I wanted to face the closing section with energy and the plan paid off.”

Kigen finished second in 2:34:41 while Hirpa took third, almost one minute in arrears. The half marathon victors were Kenya’s Joseph Kiprono Kiptum (1:01:47) and Bahrain’s Tejitu Daba (1:11:29).

LEADING RESULTS

Men

1 Bonsa Dida (ETH) 2:10:16

2 Belete Mekonen (ETH) 2:13:04

3 Ronal Korir (KEN) 2:13:07

4 Nicholas Kipkemboi (KEN) 2:13:20

5 Geoffrey Kipkoech (KEN) 2:14:27

6 Stephen Kiplagat (KEN) 2:14:58

Women

1 Elizabeth Rumokol (KEN) 2:33:55

2 Joan Kigen (KEN) 2:34:41

3 Bedatu Hirpa (ETH) 2:34:47

4 Rodah Tanui (KEN) 2:36:03

5 Almaz Negede (ETH) 2:36:30

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Kenyans Nancy Kiprop and Albert Korir took top honours in thrilling duels at the Vienna City Marathon, running 2:24:20 and 2:08:40 respectively at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (23).

Despite the unfavourable conditions with strong winds, Kiprop clocked the second-fastest women’s time in the history of the race after battling with fellow Kenyan Rebecca Chesir. The men’s race was even closer as Korir edged ahead of Ishmael Bushendich in the final 150 metres to win by two seconds.

With high winds, it soon became obvious that this would not be a day for record attempts. But instead two very competitive races developed. In fact never before has the Vienna City Marathon seen two such thrilling finishes in one race.

The women’s leading group contained six runners when they reached half way in 1:12:36. Ethiopians Shuko Genemo, Meseret Mengistu and Roza Dereje faced three Kenyans: Kiprop, Chesir and debutante Angela Tanui.

It was then when Mengistu, the fastest runner on the start list with a best of 2:23:26, fell off the pace. Having suffered a foot problem during her training for Vienna, she later dropped out.

Genemo and Tanui also struggled. At 30km, reached in 1:42:23, Dereje, Chesir and Kiprop were left in the lead. Dereje held on for another nine kilometres, but eventually had to settle for third.

It left Kiprop and Chesir out in front as they battled for the victory. 37-year-old Kiprop ultimately edged ahead with about 400 metres to go, crossing the line in 2:24:20 to secure her biggest career win to date.

“It was very windy and it was getting really close at the end,” said Kiprop after taking almost a minute off her personal best. “This was my greatest victory.”

Chesir crossed the line five seconds later in 2:24:25, while Dereje took third in 2:25:17. Genemo, the defending champion, finished fourth in 2:26:06.

A group of 15 runners, including three pacemakers who were trying to shield the other leaders from the wind, passed the half way mark in 1:04:13. With winds projected to reach up to 60 kilometres per hour, any result faster than 2:10 would have been regarded as an extraordinary achievement.

But somehow the wind calmed down as the men reached the final 12 kilometres. And after the lead group of 12 runners plus one pacemaker passed 30km in 1:31:38, the race was thrown wide open.

Suddenly just seven runners remained in the lead group, and then a few kilometres later Korir, Bushendich and Suleiman Simotwo broke away, turning the race for victory into an all-Kenyan affair. Deribe Robi of Ethiopia, one of the pre-race favourites, had lost contact while Kenya’s Eliud Kiptanui, who was the fastest on the start list with a best of 2:05:21, dropped out at this late stage of the race.

Bushendich and Korir ran shoulder to shoulder until they could see the finish line before Korir edged ahead to win in 2:08:40, taking 88 seconds off his PB. “It was cold and windy, but it was a great day for me,” said the 23-year-old.

Bushendich followed him across the line two seconds later, while Ezekiel Omulla completed an all-Kenyan podium by taking third in 2:09:10. Simotwo, who dropped back at 36km, eventually finished fifth in 2:10:36.

LEADING RESULTS

Men

1 Albert Korir (KEN) 2:08:40

2 Ishmael Bushendich (KEN) 2:08:42

3 Ezekiel Omullo (KEN) 2:09:10

4 Alfonce Kigen (KEN) 2:10:24

5 Suleiman Simotwo (KEN) 2:10:36

6 Regasa Mindaye (ETH) 2:10:51

Women

1 Nancy Kiprop (KEN) 2:24:20

2 Rebecca Chesir (KEN) 2:24:25

3 Roza Dereje (ETH) 2:25:17

4 Shuko Genemo (ETH) 2:26:06

5 Angela Tanui (KEN) 2:26:31

6 Helalia Johannes (NAM) 2:29:25

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