Kenya rules Africa: Continental championships end with exciting fairytales


Agnes Jebet wins the junior women’s race during Africa cross country championships in Kololo grounds, Uganda, at the weekend. [photo: DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

The third Africa crosscountry championships held at the Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala on Sunday ended with exciting fairytales for the continent.

Kenya once again reaffirmed their supremacy in crosscountry even after hosts Uganda presented classy line up in with fresh graduates.

The stellar cast led by double Commonwealth Games champion Moses Kipsiro, national half marathon champion Daniel Rotich, former world cross-country silver medalist Thomas Ayeko and Moses Kibet was a strong team for Kenyans.

Kipsiro, who trains at the Pace Sports Management in Kaptagat and was expected to have mastered the Kenyan winning tact, could not cope with the high pace unleashed by Kenya’s little-known and new graduates in the senior cadre.

The 19-year-old Leonard Barsoton, the world crosscountry junior silver medalist, alongside his peer Cornlius Kipruto employed an electric pace that left Ugandans gasping for breath.

Barsoton, who works at Nissin Food Corporation in Tokyo, led Kipruto and Philemon Rono into podium sweep. Solomon Kirwa finished to seal Kenya’s overall title.

Settle for silver

Moses Kibet finished sixth as the first Ugandan, with Ayeko, Kipsiro and Rotich in eight, tenth and 13th positions respectively to settle for silver medal in overall standings.

Ethiopia’s Mesfin Hanengaw, fourth at the  2008 World 10,000m junior championships in Poland, disappeared off the radar mid-way.

Yirsaw Tegegne (11), Negusse Erre (12), Edeo Kelu (14) and Haredin Sraj (15) aided Ethiopia to carry the team bronze medal. In the women’s front, two-time world crosscountry junior champion Faith Chepng’etich led fellow youngsters Janet Kisa and Alice Aprot into podium sweep.

Mutai faded

Faith Chelimo came fourth as Cheng’etich’s elder sister Beatrice Mutai faded to eight place to seal Kenya’s top spot.

Ethiopia’s favourites Tadelech Bekele, Yeshaneh Brihane and Aga Sora finished fifth, sixth and seventh to earn them silver in team standing.

Ugandan homegirls Linet Toroitich, Nancy Cheptegei and Chemutai Vanice wound up in 10th and 16th places to anchor their team to overall bronze medal.

Agnes Jebet Tirop and Moses Mukono chalked up brilliant wins in junior races.

Eritrea and Ethiopia denied Kenya clean sweeps in junior races even as Kenya reclaimed the 8km men overall title. 

Meanwhile, South Sudan Athletics Federation (SSAF) has placed a bid to host the 2016 Africa Cross Country Championships.

The world’s newest nation presented the bid in Kampala, Uganda during the crosscountry seminar.

“We are requesting that you to allow South Sudan to join Confederation of Africa Athletics as a member. We understand the key sports plays in peace building. We would like to be a memeber and we are ready to host the next edition of Africa Cross Country even if our request has not been approved,” John Akol, SSAF secretary General Secretary.

David Okeyo, the chairman IAAF World CrossCountry Techinical Committe, said: “We are willing to come to Southern Sudan but you need to speed up your requst to get hosting rights.”  —