•Jebitok said her ambition is to win a medal before graduating to the senior ranks.
•Speaking after winning the 6km at the Athletics Kenya (AK) cross country championships in Iten over the weekend, Jebitok said her preparations have started in earnest for the title chase.
Africa 1,500m champion Edna Jebitok and Africa junior 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Gideon Rono are hoping to produce a formidable team to retain the country’s top position at the World Under-20 championships set for July in Nairobi.
Jebitok, who finished fourth in 1,500m at the World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland last year, said her ambition is to win a medal before graduating to the senior ranks.
“I have done well in juniors but I want gold at the World Under-20 Championships before transiting next year,” said Jebitok, the world U-18 1,500m bronze medallist.
Speaking after winning the 6km at the Athletics Kenya (AK) cross country championships in Iten over the weekend, Jebitok said her preparations have started in earnest for the title chase. She finished second behind Agnes Jebet (not the former world cross country champion). Jebitok remained the pre-race favourite but fell to Jebet, a student at Kapkenda Girls.
Jebet clocked 19:03.9 ahead of Jebitok who timed 19:11.08 as Youth Olympics Champion Fancy Cherono completed the podium in 19:23.3. Rono, who has won four out of five races, was optimistic of doubling up, first the Africa cross country as well as Olympic games.
Rono, who won Ol Kalau, Ndalat and Kirdam titles was at it again in the junior men , winning in 22:13.4 ahead of Shadrack Kipchirchir (22:18.4) and Emmanuel Kiplagat completing the podium in 22:19.0.
“My wish is to run in the two events as I prepare to graduate into senior cadre. First, Africa cross country before heading for Olympic Games,” said Rono, who was advised by head coach Julius Kirwa to reduce races ahead of national championships.
As the juniors spit fire, seniors led by world U-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Leonard Bett and former world junior runner Betty Chepkemoi have also set their eyes on the double as the year begins.
Newly graduated Bett who is also the world under-18 2,000m champion defeated Daniel Simiu for the title as he set focus on the double. He won the race in 28:06.1, to redeem his image after unsuccessfully launching his senior career at season cross country opener in Machakos when he finished third overall.
“This was a good race as I prepare for Africa Cross country as well as Olympic Games. It was a challenging race but winning in my second attempt in senior ranks is good for me,” said Kericho-based runner.
Chepkemoi, who finished 6th at the 2019 world cross country championships defeated experienced runners like Frankfurt Marathon champion Valery Aiyabei, Monica Chirchir and Dorcas Kimeli for the title.
Chepkemoi, who stepped in the lead with just two kilometres, kept her tempo high to win the title in 32:14.9 as she plans to cut into Kenya team for both Africa cross country in Lome, Togo and Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The former world Junior 3,000 steeplechase 4th placed runner improved from the second position she set in Ol Kalou meeting a fortnight ago to today’s win. “It has always been my dream to run for Kenya and with the two championships ahead, I want make a cut into it,” said the Two Running Club runner.
6km junior women
- Agnes Jebet- 19:03.9
- Edna Jebitok- 19:11.08
- Fancy Cherono- 19:23.3
- Brenda Chepchumba- 19:33.3
- Irene Chepketer- 19:35.9
- Winnie Kimutai- 19:36.6
8km junior men
- Gideon Rono- 22:13.4
- Shadrack Kipchumba- 22:18.4
- Emmanuel Kipchirchir- 22:18.4
- Felix Korir- 22:25.6
- Brian Kiptoo- 22:35.6
- Naibei Kiplimo- 22:36.8
10km senior woen
- Betty Chepkemoi- 32:14.9
- Monica Chirchir- 32:29.19
- Valary Aiyabei- 32:23.1
- Dorcas Kimeli- 33:00.4
- Jackline Atudonyang- 33:03.2
- Judith Jepng’etich- 35:15.9
10k senior men
- Leonard Bett- 28:06.1
- Daniel Simiu- 28:13.2
- Abel Kipsang- 28:17.8
- Erick Tirop- 28:25.2
- Edward Kibet- 28:27.2
- Abel Mutai- 28:13.2