Geoffrey Kamworor ran the fastest ever time in the 10,000m on Kenyan soil when he clocked 27minutes, 01.06 seconds as he won the Kenyan trials at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Friday to clinch a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.
Kamworor came off a tough year in 2020 where he missed a huge chunk of competition as he nursed injuries sustained from a motorbike accident which required him to undergo surgery. He powered home in a commanding performance to book a place in Tokyo.
He earned the ticket alongside training partner Rodgers Kwemoi who clocked 27minutes, 05.51 seconds who finished second.
“I am really pleased to have come out here today and win. It feels nice especially to make a statement running a time like that. I had a very tough 2020 and making it to the Olympics today is a very big thing for me,” Kamworor stated.
Kwemoi makes the Olympics for the first time ever.
“I am really excited to make it. We were talking with Kamworor in the morning and he told me that we will make a 1-2 finish today. Also, our mentor Eliud Kipchoge was here and we could not afford to let him down,” the youngster stated.
From the onset it was always going to be a fast race as the huge pack quickly disintegrated to a single file just after five laps. Kamworor, Kwemoi and Rhonex Kipruto were in the front, exchanging leads as each waited for the other to pounce.
The leading pack reduced to a group of eight athletes after 14 laps, with the wheat being separated from the chaff. With five laps to go though, it was beginning to get clear who the favourites were. Unfortunately, Rhonex jogged off the face leaving the battle to the two training partners.
Kamworor kept Kwemoi on his wing, allowing him to stay in the lead until they both crossed the line for the bell. Confident that his young partner had made the team, the three time World Half Marathon Champion swung his long strides upfront, kicking in the pace for a strong final lap finish.
While Kwemoi came in a comfortable second, Weldon Kipkurui was third in 27mins, 24.73secs, four minutes clear of the qualification mark. Collins Koros, Daniel Mateiko and Kennedy Kimutai all made the qualification time, but only the top two make the team.
Rio 2016 silver medalist Paul Tanui had a torrid time and did not even finish the race, having been dropped away from theleading pack as early as the fourth lap.
-Chepkoech, Kiyeng make team in the steeplechase
Usual suspects Hyvin Kiyeng and Beatrice Chepkoech made the Kenyan team in the women’s steeplechase after finishing first and second respectively. Kiyeng, the 2015 World Champion finished first ahead of the world record holder after clocking nine minutes, 24.5secs.
Chepkoech came in second in nine minutes, 25.0secs.
“I had been sick over the last two weeks and it has been very difficult to train. I am thankful that I at least managed to run and get a place in the team. That was the only important thing for me today,” Chepkoech, the reigning world champion stated.
Kiyeng on her part noted; “It was very good to compete here and earn a place in the team. Now we know what lies ahead of us and all is left to do is prepare well to get a medal in Tokyo.”
Former world junior champion Celliphine Chespol, described by many as the next big thing in the women’s steeple finished an unimpressive 10th and could not make the team.
Chepkoech had led for most of the race from the gun, staying upfront as his her tradition with Kiyeng, Fancy Cherono and Purity Kirui sticking on her wing.
At the bell however, Kiyeng surged upfront to make some good gap between her and the world record holder to comfortably win the race. Kirui finished third in a time of nine minutes, 25.6secs.
The trials will get to the final day on Saturday with quickfire finals across various disciplines.