Kibiwott prevails over Kiyeng at Central Rift XC meet
Two-time World Cross country junior champion Viola Kibiwott outlasted Rio 2016 Olympics silver medallist and 3000m steeplechase world champion Hyvin Kiyeng to the top honours of the senior women 10km during the Central Rift Cross Country Championships held in Mosoriot over the weekend.
Lagos Marathon winner Abraham Kiptum prevailed over Olympics steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto in the men 10km senior showdown as Richard Kimunyan and Jebet Ngetich beating the competition to the junior men 8km and junior women 6km titles.
Kibiwott clocked 34:51 to beat Kiyeng by a second in a flying finish to the signature event of the day where the former 3000m steeple world junior champion Daisy Jepkemei clocked 35:32 to close the podium.
Kibiwott, 33, a veteran of six IAAF World Cross teams and last ran for Kenya at the 2013 World Cross in Bydgoszcz, Poland announced she will make a final attempt to represent her nation at the biennial event in Kampala, Uganda next month before moving to road races.
African 3000m steeple champion, Norah Jeruto and her sister Daisy Jepkemei took early charge of the race with Kiyeng keeping close attention.
Kibiwott came to the picture as the race progressed and together with the Beijing 2015 Worlds champion, they broke off from the siblings to fight for the victory until the very last when the winner edged the sprint finish over the last 100m.
“It was like training for me because I have not competed in any cross country race this year and so I was coming to try my best for the nationals although I’m not sure I’m going to run,” Kibiwott told in her post race interview.
World champion Kiyeng was contented with her performance adding that the race was part of her training as she prepares to defend her title at the London Worlds slated for August 4-13.
“This is my first cross country race this season. London will not be easy but I do hope to give it my best,” the Rio silver medallist added saying she can cope with the threat posed Bahrain world record holder Ruth Jebet who beat her to the crown at the Olympics.
“I’m not frightened by Jebet because before the World Championships, we shall have ran several IAAF Diamond League races and we shall have known each other well by then. I will start off in Doha,” Kiyeng stressed.
Jeruto settled for fourth in 35:53 followed by Sheila Jebet (36:15) and Helen Jepkorir (36:35) who made the Central Rift women 10km team for the National Trials.
In the corresponding men 10km event, Kiptum who won the Ndalat Gaa XC Meeting last year stunned the competition when he led an imposing field that included Kipruto and the 2014 Commonwealth steeplechase silver winner, Jairus Birech across the tape in the final podium dash.
“The race had big people like Kipruto and Birech who are champions and I feared them. However, I overcame my fear during the last three kilometers and decided to run my best until I won the race.
Kiptum stopped the timer at 29:58 followed home by Josephat Tanui (30:10) and Noah Kipkemboi (30:11) who shared the podium.
“The race was good I would like to thank the race organizers for the good course. This is my field do my speed workhere every day and . I’m very proud of myself and I was ready for this day,” Kiptum added as he prepares to defend his Lagos marathon title this Saturday.
Kipruto pulled out of the race in the last lap as Birech faded off to the bottom six.
Olympics Laureate and the National Olympics Committee of Kenya Chairman Dr. Kipchoge Kenio was among the spectators who graced the event.
-Charity Wanja contributed to this report
10km senior men
1. Abraham Kiptum 29:58
2. Josephat Tanui 30:10
3. Noah Kipkemboi 30:11
4.Emmanuel Bor 30:19
5. Julius Kogo 30:30
6. Hillary Maiyo 30:41
10km Senior Women
1. Viola Kibiwott 34:51
2. Hyvin Jepkemboi Kiyeng 34:52
3. Daisy Jepkemei 35:32
4. Norah Jeruto 35:54
5.Sheila Jebet 36:15
6. Helen Jepkorir 36:25
8km Junior Men
1. Richard Kimunyan 23:53
2. Nicholas Kimeli 23:57
3. Ronex Kipruto 24:03
4. Josephat Kipchirchir 24:04
5. Shadrack Kimutai 24:05
6. Evan Keitany 24:26
6km Junior Women
1. Jebet Ngetich 20:44
2. Ann Nyagothie 20:49
3. Rosemary Mumo 21:02
4. Deborah Samum 21:06
5. Gloria Kite 21:09
6. Irene Kamais 21:12