World 5,000m champion Helen Obiri will be the highlight of the national cross country championship this Saturday at Uhuru Gardens.
With defending champion Irene Cheptai out of the running, the Olympic silver medallist will be the person to beat in the women’s 10km race, according to the list released by organisers, Athletics Kenya .
Obiri is expected to face competition from Africa 10,000m champion Alice Aprot, world cross country junior bronze medallist, Cellphine Chespol (Prisons), the 2016 Paris marathon champion Visiline Jepkesho (Prisons) and Stacy Ndiwa (PolIce).
In the men’s 10km category, two-time world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor has been entered in the event as he seeks to build up for the defence of the world half marathon title in Valencia, Spain next month.
Kamworor will be the front runner for the event in the absence of defending champion Leonard Barsoton. Others to look out for in stellar field include the reigning Africa cross country champion James Rungaru (Central) and the 2013 world cross country champion Japheth Korir (South Rift).
Richard Kimunyan from Central Rift, who won men’s junior 8km race title at the nationals last year before settling for bronze in Kampala, hopes to graduate to senior ranks in style in the men’s race that will also feature Africa 10,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei (Prisons) and Mang’ata Ndiwa (Prisons).
Africa cross county women’s junior champion Miriam Cherop, World youth 2,000m steeplechase champion Caren Chebet, world youth 800m bronze medallist Lydia Jeruto and world youth 1,500m bronze medallist Ednah Jebitok will highlight women’s 6km race.
World youth steeplechase champion Leonard Bett, world youth 3,000m silver medallist, Edward Zakayo and world youth 3,000m bronze medalist will face off in men’s 8km battle. Kenya Wildlife Service and National Youth Service will field teams for the first time in the one-day competition
However, before Saturday’s showdown, AK and Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya have organised a doping seminar for all the participants tomorrow at Milele Hotel.