Aprot hopes its fourth time lucky for Africa Cross gold
Alice Aprot hopes it will be fourth time lucky when she competes at this weekend’s CAA Africa Athletics Championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The Turkana-born distance runner with career bests of 15:16.74/31:24.18 in 5000m/10000m will make history on Saturday as the first Kenyan to compete at all the four editions of the continental championships that were introduced in 2011 to fill the gap year of the now biennial IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
The African 10,000m women’s champion will be running for Kenya for a fourth time in cross country is confident after storming to a dominant victory during the February 13 IAAF Permit/AK National Championships for her first senior women 10km title.
“I have prepared well for this fourth edition. In the first edition in South Africa, I finished 5th, a year later I failed to finish because of injury and in 2014 in Uganda, I was third. Now, I hope to go and take gold,” Aprot, who is a younger sibling to 2010 IAAF World Cross Champion, Joseph Ebuya, said.
Team Kenya for Cameroon is set to leave the country on Wednesday for the fourth edition of the continental cross showdown with Aprot, 24, the 2010 World Junior 5000m bronze winner leading the charge in the women’s 10km showdown.
“Ethiopians are a challenge to us as well as Ugandans. We know them and we know their tactics. I can’t say am going to win but having won four races last season, I’m now experienced and I hope to use that experience,” the ninth finisher in the women 6km junior race at the 2010 World Cross added.
Aprot struck gold over 10,000m at the African Games in Congo Brazzaville after coming in as a pace setter, only days after winning the bronze medal in the shorter 5000m.
Last year was a fruitful season for Aprot where she went on to win four of the AK National Cross Series meetings but missed out on a World Cross ticket for Guiyang, China, a disappointment she credits with her upturn in form.
“The course was muddy and I kept slipping. I decided to go out early since I don’t have good finishing speed, and leave it for the others to try to catch up. Having to drop out of the World Cross team last year motivated me to train harder since I was not happy at all.
“My elder brother (Ebuya) has been encouraging me and that’s why I’m getting into better shape,” she told IAAF after her victory at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens.
Beatrice Mutai, Sheila Chepkirui, Daisy Jepkemei, former world cross junior champion, Pauline Korikwiang and Nancy Nzisa complete the senior women 10km charge for Yaoundé.
Kenya has held on to both individual and team senior women titles for the past three editions with her pride at stake on Saturday.