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Kenya Prisons eye more places in country’s Africa Cross team   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya Prisons head coach, Gideon Chirchir, has backed his runners to occupy a bigger share of places in the senior line-ups of the country’s team for the 5th CAA Africa Cross Country Championships in Chlef, Algeria.

Kenya will announce the team for the March 17 biannual continental event following the conclusion of the 2018 Athletics Kenya (AK) National Cross Country Championships in Nairobi on Saturday.

Prisons have loaded line-ups in the women and men senior 10km races fronted by Africa Cross titleholder, Alice Aprot and continental 10000m track silver winner, Wilfred Kimitei as they seek to break the domination of their chief rivals, Kenya Police and Kenya Defence Forces.

“Our men had a poor performance at the nationals last year. Almost the entire squad was engaged in staff training in Ruiru so we had no time to prepare well for the race. Peter Emase, who finished in position eight, was our best in the category.

“We have had adequate time to prepare well ahead of this year’s nationals. The squad is fit and I am expecting encouraging results,” Chirchir said on Wednesday from the team’s camp in Nairobi.

Kimitei has all to do to beat overwhelming favourite and New York Marathon winner, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, who bagged the 2018 Police title.

Kamworor, who finished second at the nationals last year, went on to strike gold at the 2017 IAAF Kampala World Cross as he held on to his crown and will be using the race as build-up for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, Spain where he will be coming in as the titleholder.

National Under 20 champion, Richard Kimunyan from AK Central Rift, who settled for bronze at in Kampala, Uganda, has also graduated to the senior ranks and is take on the established seniors at Uhuru Gardens.

African Cross champion, James Rungaru, from Central has set his sights on the big prize as he seeks a ticket to defend his crown next month.

Chirchir tipped Aprot to go one better than last year and bring the women’s long race title to the jailers as the department that has played second fiddle to their Kenya Police and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) rivals aims at making a mark this year.

The Kampala World Cross silver bronze winner, Cellphine Chespol and 2016 Paris Marathon champion, Visiline Jepkesho will give Aprot string backing to take on a deep field where world 5000m champion, Hellen Obiri of the Kenya Defence Forces and Lillian Kasait Rengeruk who won the bronze in Uganda and Stacy Ndiwa, are expected to feature.

World boy’s 2000m Under-18 steeplechase titleholder, Leonard Bett and World 3000m Under-18 silver medalist, Edward Zakayo will spearhead the junior men 8km battle for honours.

Africa Cross County Women’s Under-20 champion Miriam Cherop, World Under-18 girls’ 2,000m steeplechase champion Caren Chebet, World 800m Under-18  bronze medalist Lydia Jeruto, World 1500m Under-18 bronze winner, Ednah Jebitok are among those tipped to highlight the junior 6km women’s race.



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