AK supremo Tuwei expects stiff competition at National XC

Gilbert KiprotichChief athletics writer

Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jackson Tuwei is expecting stiff competition at the National Cross Country Championships slated for Saturday at the Ngong Race Course in Nairobi.

The annual event will also double as trials for the Africa Cross Country Championships scheduled for Lome, Togo on March 7.

Tuwei said the race will reunite athletes, most of whom have not been in competitive action for long periods due to Covid-19 pandemic.

With the cancellation of the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon last week, a mouth-watering clash is expected in the men’s senior race where world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie will face off with world cross country bronze medallist Geoffrey Kamworor.

While Kamworor won a record eighth National Police Service title a fortnight ago, Kandie also stormed to a third Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) title.

Another battle is also brewing in the corresponding women’s race as the defending champion Sheila Chelangat who retained her Police title takes on a strong field that also includes Prison’s Rosemary Wanjiru.

Other events that will be held alongside the 10km senior races are; 8km Under-20 boys, 6km Under-20km girls, 6km Under-18 boys, 5km Under-18 girls and mixed relay.

At the same time Tuwei revealed that the continental showpiece will go ahead in Togo with the West African country having already confirmed hosting the event that was postponed last year due to the virus.

“We have received a letter from both the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) and the Local Organising Committee informing us that the championships will go ahead and thus we have until February 15th to submit our entries,” said Tuwei who is also the Vice President of CAA.

The AK chief said fans will be allowed at the Ngong Race Course but must adhere to strict Covid 19 health protocols.

The team which will be selected on Saturday will head to Kigari Teachers Training College in Embu for residential training prior to their departure.