Kibiwott Kandie fires warning shot at Nairobi AK meet

Kibiwott Kandie fires warning shot at Nairobi AK meet

Chief athletics writer, Nyayo Stadium

After a disappointing outing at the National Cross Country championships a fortnight ago, Kibiwott Kandie bounced back to winning ways when he raced to victory in 10,000m at the first Athletics Kenya (AK) Track and Field meeting held Saturday at the Nyayo Stadium.

Kandie, the half marathon world record holder took a cautious approach as he trailed his competitors for large spells of the 25-lap race only to surge forward with four laps to go.

Running under scorching sun at Nyayo stadium, Kandie would stop the timer in 28:28.0 as Gilbert Kimunyan finished  second in 28:37.7 while Peter Mwaniki came home third in 28:39.7

“It was not easy since it was somehow hot today. Similarly, my competitors were well prepared but I was coming for the win and I thank God for enabling me to realise that,” said Kandie.

The World Half Marathon silver medalist who finished second at the National Cross Country Championships said he is now eyeing a slot in Kenya’s team for Tokyo Olympics.

“I am now going to focus on Olympics and I am planning to compete in the weekend meetings in the build up to the Games. I hope I will make the team,” Kandie enthused.

With the 10000m gold medal at the Olympics having eluded Kenya since 1968, Kandie is optimistic Kenya will break the 53-year hoodoo in Tokyo.

“I know there is a lot of expectation but I urge Kenyans to be patient. Once the team is selected and if I make the team then I promise we will bring back the medal,” he said.

After placing second at the national cross country championships, Kandie was part of  Kenya’s team for the Africa Cross Country Championships that was slated for Lome, Togo in March 6 but were once again postponed due to Covid-19.

The 24-year-old said he is now stepping up his preparations for the upcoming Istanbul Half Marathon set for April 4.

Meanwhile, the inform Sheila Chelangat stormed to an easy victory in the women’s 5,000m crossing the finish line in 15:42.2. Jackline Cherotich (15:49.6) and Mary Nyaruai (15:50.2) placed second and third respectively.

Chelangat, the two-time national cross country champion who has been training at Kigari Teachers College for the Africa Cross said she decided to compete after the continental showpiece was postponed.

“Last year I didn’t make it to Doha but I am now working towards the Olympics and also the Africa Senior Championships,” said Chelangat.

Moreover, the athlete could not hide her disappointment following the postponement of the Africa Cross Country showdown.

“As an athlete it is really disappointing for an event to be postponed twice. However, we have to understand since it is beyond us,” she said.

The competition which was initially planned for Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University enters the second and final day on Sunday.