NAIROBI, Kenya- World Championships men 1500m silver winner, Timothy Cheruiyot and Alice Aprot who took the second medal at the 2017 World Cross, will headline the 2018 Kenya Prisons Service Cross Country Championships at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi on Saturday.
Cheruiyot, who sealed the Kenyan 1-2 at the London 2017 Worlds behind Elijah Manangoi last August, is the favourite in the men’s 10km showdown having underlined his credentials by winning the IAAF Cross Permit meeting in Antrim last weekend.
His main challenger on paper is 2011 Worlds men 1500m silver winner, Silas Kiplagat, but based on recent form, Wilfred Kimitei who won the silver medal at the Durban 2016 African Championships could be the man to beat at the Prisons cross meeting.
Other promising contenders for the medals in the 10km race are Kibet Barng’etuny from Rift Valley, Cleophas Rop from Western and former Africa Cross champion; John Mwangangi from Nyanza.
Mark Bett, who was in the 4x2000m Mixed Relay team that delivered gold for Kenya at the Kampala World Cross, will spearhead the same race at Saturday’s event.
Prisons titleholder Aprot will headline the corresponding women’s long race line-up alongside Olympics 800m bronze medallist and former world junior champion, Margaret Wambui Nyairera.
Gladys Kemboi, Caren Chepkoech and Euven Akoth are the other potent challengers for the podium in the field.
Aprot is stepping up her training at in Kericho and she took the Prisons honours last year by clocking 32:50 before making Team Kenya for the 2017 Kampala World Cross where she followed
“I will still maintain front running as I have always done before. My training is going on so well, I hope to start the new season in style by successfully defending the title at the weekend,” Aprot told SportPesa News on Wednesday.
Aprot admitted she is cautious of Nyairera who was also part of the victorious 4x2000m Mixed Relay quartet in Kampala where she trailed Irene Cheptai across the line for silver and team gold in the senior race where Kenya went 1 to 6.
The 2014 Africa Cross bronze winner had a successful season last year where she finished fourth at London 2017.
Prisons Sports Public Relations Officer and Kenya sprints head coach, Stephen Mwaniki, said only Prisons staff will take part at the event.
“The categories were won by civilians last year but we have locked them out this year to give our athletes a good chance to give their best since we want a strong team for the nationals.
“I urge participating athletes to take the championships seriously so that we can present a competitive team for the Trials for the Africa Cross,” Mwaniki, who added the top six finishers will be handed Prisons tickets, emphasised.
Prisons XC time table
0930hrs-10km senior Women
1030hrs-10km senior men
1130hrs-4x2000m Mixed Relay