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Police include Stacy Ndiwa for National Cross Country meet

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Defending champion Stacy Ndiwa and 2015 World Cross Country champion Agnes Tirop have been included in Kenya Police senior women’s team for the National Cross Country Championships set for Saturday at Eldoret Sports Club.

Kenya Prisons and Kenya Defence Forces have also drawn their battle lines by slotting in their teams the 2015 World Cross Country bronze medallist Lilian Kasait and experienced Perin Nenkampi respectively.

Police coach Nicholas Kilisio indicated that Ndiwa and Tirop, who missed the Kenya Police Cross Country Championships after falling sick, are back in shape, ready to read for the Eldoret battle.

Ndiwa is also the 2018 Commonwealth 10,000m silver medallist while Tirop is the 2017 World 10,000m bronze medallist. “They have progressed well in training since missing our trials three weeks ago and we expect the best from them,” said Kilisio.

Ndiwa and Tirop join the women’s team that has their Cross Country champion Margaret Chelimo, Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech, 2016 Rio Olympics 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Hyvin Kiyeng and Edith Jelimo.

Kiyeng and Tirop finished fourth and fifth respectively during the 2017 World Cross Country Championships in Uganda where Kenya swept all the top six places.

Ndiwa won the National Cross Country Championships last year but preferred to prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

Prisons coach Gedion Chirchir disclosed that Kasait, who was fatigued and missed their trials three weeks ago, is raring to go as she teams up with Kenya Prisons and Africa Cross Country champion Cellphine Chespol and Alice Aprot, who won silver for Kenya at the 2017 World Cross.

Others in Prisons team are Loice Chemunung, Nancy Nzisa and Beatrice Rutto.

“Kasait had trained hard and need some recovery hence we exempted her from the trials,” said Chirchir.

Athletics Kenya-KDF chairman Daniel Pyaban said that Nenkampi, who was the best placed athlete from KDF during last year’s National Championships, didn’t finish in top six at their trials but has been included owing to her vast experience.

Nenkampi joins World and Commonwealth 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri, Deborah Samum, Dorcas Kimeli, Irene Kamais and Mercy Wanjiru for the Eldoret clash.

The 2016 World Cross Country silver medallist Leonard Barsoton, who missed Kenya Police trials is the noticeable inclusion in their senior men’s team.

Barsoton, who also missed the Nationals last year, lost the battle to teammate Geoffrey Kamworor during the 2017 World Cross Country Championships. Barsoton and Kamworor, who is seeking to defend his title, lead Police assault that has Emmanuel Bett, Isaac Temoi, Josphat Boit and Josphat Bett.

AK vice president Paul Mutwii, who released the tentative start list yesterday ahead of the championships in Eldoret cautioned that no athletes will be allowed to run as individuals.

“Contestants have been entered through their respective regions and we don’t expect athletes to run individually except for one pilot, Gert Brienne,” said Mutwii.