Athletics Briefs: Kenyan Championship trials; Herunga double Gold in Namibia...and more

NAIROBI (KEN): Former 800m world champion Janeth Jepkosgei will lead over a thousand athletes as the country selects its best runners for the continental event next month.

Jepkosgei, like many other elite athletes, have returned home to fight for places on Kenya team and the trials on Thursday will confirm who is fit enough to wear the national jersey come July 28 to August 1 when Nyayo National Stadium will stage continent’s premier event, the Senior Africa Athletics Championship. The first two athletes across the line will qualify while the third will be picked through the coaches’ wild card.

Kenya will select a total of 144 athletes in all events. Jepkosgei will however seek another stage to end any doubt in the simmering rivalry with Olympic Champion Pamela Jelimo. Writes The Nation.

World 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot is struggling with a thigh strain leaving Sylvia Kibet, the world silver medallist as the favourite. Linet Masai, the world 10,000m champion will also line up as she seeks to secure the African title.

GABORONE (BOT, Jun 19-20): Tjipekapora Herunga of Namibia clocked 23.96 seconds in 200 meter and won the gold medal and in 400 meter she claimed another gold in a remarkable time of 53.17 seconds at the Botswana National Athletics Championships in Gaborone.

A middle distance athlete, Daniel Nghipadulwa, in extremely freezing conditions clocked in 1: 48.95 seconds in 800 meters.

EUGENE (USA): Of the two Samsung Diamond League distance races in the 36th annual Prefontaine Classic on 3 July, the women’s 3000m Steeplechase and men’s 5000m, one is certain to see a meet record set, and that’s the newest addition to the international women’s programme, the Steeplechase.

In women steeplechase, the gold, silver and bronze medallists from last year’s Berlin World Championships will inaugurate the event in ten days at Hayward Field. Marta Dominguez of Spain, Yuliya Zarudneva of Russia and Milcah Chemos Cheiywa of Kenya finished 1-2-3 a year ago in Berlin. The Kenyan is currently the leader in the season long Diamond Race in this discipline after victories in Oslo and Rome.

The men’s 5000m holds similar meet record-setting potential. A sub-13:00 clocking has never been achieved in the USA and this is the field that can finally do it.

Some of the fastest runners of 2010 are in the race, led by Kenyan’s 2003 World champion Eliud Kipchoge, currently the fastest in the world following his win in Doha (12:51.21) and Ethiopia’s Imane Merga, the year’s third quickest of the season so far (12:53.81), who leads the 5000m Diamond Race standings after wins in Oslo and Rome.

Joining them are their countrymen, Ethiopian Tariku Bekele (12:53.97) and Kenyan Mathew Kisorio (12:57.83). Add in another Kenyan Edwin Soi, who was the second quickest runner of 2009 and is a multiple winner of the now discontinued World Athletics Final, and USA stars Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp (both of whom are members of the sub-13:00 club), and no fewer than ten runners in the field have broken 13-minutes either last year or this. US All-comers record is 13:02.90 by Micah Kogo of Kenya.

The Prefontaine Classic and Hayward Field record is 13:07.83, set by Luke Kipkosgei in 1998.

Courtesy Alfonz Juck /EME news

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