Irene Lemika celebrates her victory in the senior women's 8km race at the fourth AK KCB weekend meeting in Machakos (© Omulo Okoth)
New revelation of the Kenyan cross country running production line, Sammy Kitwara, won his third weekend meeting at the fourth KCB/AK meeting of the 2007/08 season in Machakos on Saturday (1).
Former women's 3000m Steeplechase runner, Irene Lemika, led from start to finish in the senior women's 8km race. The meeting took place in this small town some 80km east of Kenya's capital.
Kitwara continues strong domestic campaign
Kitwara, 20, beat a strong men's team whose lead group broke away with two laps to finish after he constantly exchanged the lead with Abraham Chirchir, Sammy Kimaiyo, Julius Kiprop and Philip Langat. At the bell, Kitwara, who won in the first meeting in Nairobi and the third in Meru, outsprinted the group to easily win by some 40 metres. He timed 37:22.2 ahead of Kiprop, who clocked 37:41.6. Among his senior casualties were 25km World record holder and former World Road Relay champion, Paul Kosgei, and Abraham Cherono, both who missed the top 10.
But despite his decisive victory, he still maintained his poise and declined to make ambitious predictions such as winning a medal at the World Cross Country Champoinships in Edinburgh in March.
"You can't talk about something you've never seen. I will have to wait until I reach there to talk about it," was his response when asked about his prospects at the World Cross. But he found the light drizzles very condusive despite rendering the course a bit slippery.
Kitwara is a member of the Adidas Team in Eldoret, under coach Richard Tendo and managed by Dutchman Dau van Enk.
He has to win at the National Cross Country Championships next February to qualify for a share of the Kenya shillings 200,000 Jackpot. An athlete has to win three times including at the Nationals to qualify for the Jackpot.
Lemika won in 28:12.4 ahead of Anna Wanjiru who clocked 28:22.6.
Nelly Chebet won the junior women's race in 20:48.6 with Elizabeth Mueni in second place in 20:54.6. Muyoka Musyoki won the junior men's race in 23:54.0 with Jonathan Mula second in 24:02.1.
The day's event, held at the slippery Machakos High School's ground, was capped by tree planting session by all the winners, Athletics Kenya officials, led by President Isaiah Kiplagat and Treasurer Joseph Kinyua, and Green Africa Foundation chairman, Isaac Kalua.
Omulo Okoth (The Standard) for the IAAF
12km Senior Men:
1. Sammy Kitwara 37:22.2
2. Julius Kiprop 37:41.6
3. Philip Langat 37:43.1
4. Samuel Kimaiyo 37:49.6
5. Abraham Chirchir 37:58.0
8km Junior Men:
1. Muyoka Musyoki 23:54.0
2. Jonathan Mula 24:02.1
3. Kiprotich Koskei 24:12.3
4. Leonard Oloitiptip 24:17.4
5. Bernard Mureithi 24:32.0
8km Senior Women:
1. Irene Lemika 28:12.4
2. Anna Wanjiru 28:22.6
3. Jane Murage 28:24.7
4. Eunice Mumbua 28:28.6
5. Pauline Njeri 28:34.1
6km Junior Women:
1. Nelly Chebet 20:48.6
2. Elizabeth Mueni 20:54.8
3. Susan Wairimu 21:01.4
4. Grace Wambui 21:15.1
5. Grace Nyakwea 21:16.6