Former world 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Mercy Wanjiru defied wet and windy conditions to win her specialty at the Kenya Defence Forces athletics championships at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
Wanjiru ran a controlled race to win in 9:23.4 with Naomi Chepkemoi coming home a distant second in 9:32.3 as Elizabeth Mueni finished third in 9:36.6. Deborah Samum completed the top four places in 9:41.1.
Mercy Njoroge dictated the pace in the opening laps as she surged to the front as the field spread into a single file. She was closely followed by Joyline Jemutai.
At the start of the fifth lap, Wanjiru surged to the front with a tired Njoroge falling off the pace. Wanjiru then opened a 20m gap before striding to victory .
Njoroge said she can run faster with better conditions. She said her priority right now is to be part of Team Kenya to the Africa Senior Championships slated for Nigeria in August.
“I’m looking forward to the national championships. It won’t be easy but I will train even harder because there will be good athletes at the trials next month,” added Wanjiru.
Wanjiru described the race as challenging, especially with the current rains.
“It’s never easy running in the rain but I had to time my race well and beat the competition,” she added.
Six-time Africa 20km race walk race champion Grace Wanjiru successfully defended her title after timing 1:30.44. Emily Ngii placed second in 1:33.56 with Susan Koskei coming home third in 1:44.77.
Simon Wachira was the men’s winner in 1:21.28 fllowed by Nicodemus Musau ( 1:28.12 ) and Peter Theuri ( 1:28.31 ). Alexander Kiprotich bagged the javelin category with a throw of 71.42 metres with Edgar Bett finishing second with a throw of 67.69m. Sammy Kaskeny was third with 64.06m.
Africa high jump champion Matthew Sawe was in superb form as he topped his speciality with a 2:30 metres leap. Asbel Kiprop placed second in 2.12m while Amos Kipsaina was third after covering 2m.
Nicholas Kiplangat topped Heat One of the men’s 800m semis after clocking 1:48.4 ahead of Cornelius Tungi ( 1:48.7 ) and Jackson Kivuva ( 1:49.0 ).
Jonathan Kitilit topped Heat 2 after registering 1:47.01 and was followed by Bernard Kipyegon ( 1:47.2 ) and Moses Kipkemboi ( 1:47.5 ) respectively.
Robert Yego won his men’s 400m heats after clocking 44.8 . Boniface Mweresa was second in 46.4 while Alphas Kishoyian placed third in 46.8.