Will it be Kandie or Kamworor at the nationals?

Monday, February 1st, 2021 00:00 |
Goeffrey Kamworor Ndolo

The titanic  battle between world half  marathon record holder Kibiwott  Kandie  of Kenya Defence Forces and the immediate former world record holder over the distance Geoffrey Kamworor of National Police Service will be the most anticipated race during the 2021 National Cross Country Championships planned for February 13 at the Ngong Racecourse, Nairobi.

In what should be a pulsating clash, the women’s race too promises to be a KDF versus Police affair.

 World cross country champion and former national champion Hellen  Obiri of KDF will be up against national champion Sheila Chelang’at of Police.

   This follows the conclusion of the disciplined forces meets on Friday.

 Kenya Prisons Service who conducted their trials two weeks ago will also present a strong team lead by Rosemary Wanjiru and Charles Mneria.

Regional representatives and individual athletes will spice the nationals cum trials for Africa Cross Country Championships set for March in Lome, Togo.

Kandie, who is based at Embakasi Garrison, is keen to defend his national title.

“I broke the world half marathon and felt like fighting for something special –winning an Olympic medal.

I really want to win it. It will be sweeter if I win the gold medal, which we have missed for many years. I will fight for it.

“I have competed against world 5,000m and 10,000m record holder Joshua Cheptegei and world cross country silver medalist Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda as well as the Ethiopians.

I know and understand them well. So, I will do my best,” said Kandie.

Kamworor, who is on the comeback trail from injury, says he is ready to reclaim his national glory.

“It required a lot of determination to compete here and win my eighth title especially being my first race in almost one year due to an injury.

“With this victory, I can say I’m fit and ready for the season ahead,” he said after the Police meeting on Friday.

Besides the nationals, Kamworor together with Kandie have been lined up to compete at Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon on February 19.

“My main target this year is the Olympic 10,000m title. I want to declare that I am fully ready and focusing on that,” Kamworor said.

 On the other hand, Obiri,  a sergeant at Laikipia Airbase, fired early warning shots.

“We have a strong team and, as KDF, we need to live up to expectation.

We will prepare well, plan and conquer. In Joyce Chepkemoi and Sheila Chepkirui and the rest of the team, we have enough ammunition,” said Obiri after her fifth KDF title.

While she plans to double in 5,000m and 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympic Games, bragging rights top Obiri’s agenda at Ngong in under two weeks. 

Chelang’at knows she must be at her best to counter Obiri, in-form Wanjiru of Prisons and a legion of civilian athletes at the trials.

 “My next target is to defend my national crown then head to the RAK next month.

I am also interested in representing Kenya at the Africa Cross Country Championships,” said Chelang’at.

More on Sports