• “This win is a surprise to me. I was not that ready compared to my competitors since I only had just a day’s rest which for an athlete may not be enough,” noted Kandie.
• Meanwhile, national 400m hurdles champion Wiseman Were exerted his dominance over the discipline, clocking 49.33 to win the title ahead of veteran William Mbevi of Laikipia Air Base and Nanyuki’s Kiplimo Kesijo.
Former world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie was peerless as he struck a distance double at the Kenya Defence Forces track and field championships at the Ulinzi Sports Complex.
The Valencia Half Marathon winner bagged the 5,000m title in his maiden appearance over the distance in 13:23:49 to add to the 10,000m crown he had won on the opening day of the championships on Wednesday.
Kandie, of Embakasi, beat Mtongwe’s Brian Kiptoo second by 11 seconds while Peter Mwaniki of the Nanyuki completed the podium in 13:36.20.
He had won the 10,000m race in 28:19:32 ahead of Mtongwe’s Hillary Koech (28:35.20) and Marsabit’s Abel Mutai 28:43.76.
Kandie, a gunner, said the win came as a surprise considering it was his first race over 12 and half laps.
“This win is a surprise to me. I was not that ready compared to my competitors since I only had just a day’s rest which for an athlete may not be enough,” noted Kandie.
“I had to push my muscles to the maximum to get a medal. I was determined to be on the podium and that is what pushed me to race to the end.”
He said the decision to compete in the 5,000m race was just a way to keep his muscles alive, insisting he has no plans to venture into the distance in the future.
The 26-year-old said his focus is on the World Championships in Budapest, where he hopes to make Team Kenya in the 10,000m.
He believes that with better training he is able to compete with Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei who has dominated Kenyan runners in recent years.
“I am looking forward to winning at the nationals but my targets extends beyond the boarders. I want to bring back our gold that has gone to Ugandans. I trust in the training am having and I believe that by August, I will be ready to bring back the lost glory,” said a confident Kibiwott.
Meanwhile, national 400m hurdles champion Wiseman Were exerted his dominance over the discipline, clocking 49.33 to win the title ahead of veteran William Mbevi of Laikipia Air Base and Nanyuki’s Kiplimo Kesijo.
Were, of Isiolo, was elated to hit his target, a sub-50 seconds performace.
“I am happy for the win and for achieving my target. I hope to record a better time at the nationals as we head for the World Championships ,” a joyful Were said, adding that his aim now is to lower his 49.09 personal best before the year ends.
Irene Kamais regained the women’s 10,000m title she had lost to Joyce Chepkemoi last year.
The Thika-based athlete trounced a quality field in 32:39.57. Kamais brushed aside bronze medal winner in last year’s event, Isiolo’s Purity Komen, who finished second in 32:44.48 as Thika’s Sheila Chepkirui wrapped up the podium positions in 32:59.51.
“I came here with one target, to reclaim my title. In my mind there was nothing like losing twice and I am proud for the win,” Kamais said.