World Under-20 silver medalist Kipngetich Ngeno floored many top names yesterday as he dipped to victory yesterday in the 800m final at Nyayo Stadium during the national trials for the World Championships set for Doha later this month.
The women race was equally competitive as World Under-18 champion Jackline Wamboi clocked 1:58.79, a time that could be the fastest run on Kenyan soil subject to ratification by Athletics Kenya (AK).
While Wambui raced to her Personal Best, she also helped former world champion Eunice Sum to dip under two minutes (1:58.99) in second place and Emily Tuwei (1:59.23) in third place.
In the men race, Ngeno clocked 1:44.57 to finish ahead of Diamond League regulars USA-based Emmanuel Korir who finished second in 1:44.62 and Ferguson Rotich (1:44.63) in a blanket finish which forced Jonathan Kitilit who had led for the most part of the race to dive across the line in vain.
Also locked out in the standout race of the day which took officials time to decide the winner was Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal who finished last after Kitilit was disqualified.
“That was a difficult race, the field was full of good quality runners and I did not expect to beat all of them. I’m happy to make the team, having won silver in Word Under-20,” Ngeno said.
Korir said: “The race was very unpredictable, I’m glad to have come here and finished second”.
While many fans at the stadium were left talking about the men race, the women race was equally competitive with the top three runners all dipping under two minutes in one of the fast races ever ran at altitude.
Wambui who set the early pace and stayed ahead at the bell was delighted to make the team to the World Championships.
“The competition was high, I strictly followed my coach’s instructions to ensure I make the team. This is my first senior victory since winning world Under-18 in 2017,” Wambui said.
World Under-20 silver Leonard Bett was a surprise winner of the men’s 3000m steeplechase final beating African Games champion and pre-race favourite Benjamin Kigen line.
Bett clocked 8:20.29, Kigen was second in 8:20.56 while Abraham Kibiwott, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was third in 8:24.61.
Olympic and world champion over the distance Conseslus Kipruto, who is slowly making his way back to action after an injury pulled out of the race with two laps to go.
Fresh from winning African Games title in Morocco, Lilian Kasait won the women’s 5000m in 15:43.55. Margaret Chelimo was second in 15:46.65 while Sheila Chelangat (15:48.65) was third.
“I have recovered well after the African Games, and I came here mentally prepared to make the team. I’m glad I made it,” Kasait said.