Ochieng, Fernandes crowned duathlon champions
Kennedy Ochieng and Stephanie Fernandes produced great feats of endurance to win the men’s and women’s elite races respectively as the national duathlon championships culminated at Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa.
The duo braved the morning drizzle to prove their athletic prowess after seeing off tougher opposition at the event used by the Kenya Triathlon Federation to select athletes for the upcoming Africa Duathlon Championships scheduled for Rwanda from 8th -14th December, 2020.
The participants were drawn from Narok, Kiambu, Murang’a, Kilifi, Kwale, Machakos, Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Nandi and Eldoret counties while observing strict Covid-19 guidelines.
The athletes covered 5km run, 20km cycling and 2.5km run.
Kennedy Ochieng who won last years under-24 year’s duathlon championship in Spain clocked 58 minutes, 55.33 seconds to qualify for the African Championship.
David Ndatha and James Mwaura came second and third respectively.
Last year’s men’s runners up Gedion Ruto was beaten to the fourth position.
“I was not sure of this performance. I knew it was going to be tough on my side but I just gave it a try. The weather was not good because it was very hot and I dint imagine that I could even become victorious,” said Ochieng.
In the women’s category, Stephanie Fernandes who competes in the French first division, emerged victorious ahead of Mercy Fuande and Josette Njeri who followed respectively.
National duathlon elite women champion Catherine Kariuki finished a dismal fifth.
“It’s very nice to have a surprise win in Kenya and East Africa. This event was very important to promote this discipline in this region,” said Fernandes.
Kenya Triathlon Federation president Joycelene Nyambura said the weekend event was sponsored by Mombasa County Government.
“To mark the return of competition in our calendar of events after a long break due the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kenya Triathlon Federation, in collaboration with the Department of Sports in the County Government of Mombasa, staged this event where we have selected 30 athletes for the zone five championship in Kigali, Rwanda,” said Ms Nyambura.
Duathlon is an athletic event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg in a format similar to triathlon.