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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya’s Chespol to skip Africa Cross for Commonwealth Games

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- World Youth steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol of Kenya will skip the Africa Cross Country Championships if she makes the Commonwealth Games team.

Chespol, 19, braved a spirited challenge from Africa 10,000m champion Alice Aprot and Stacy Ndiwa to claim a third place finish during the Kenya trials for the Africa cross.

Now she will have another opportunity to showcase her skills and mark her territory in the senior ranks when Kenya trials for the Commonwealth Games are held on Saturday in Nairobi.

“I feel the preparations from Cross Country has helped me improve and develop my endurance and I will be happy to make it to the Commonwealth Games team,” she said Monday in Nairobi.

Only two weeks separate the Africa Cross Country in Chelf, Algeria (March 17) and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia (April 4-15).

This will be immediately followed by the grueling IAAF Diamond League meeting in May. Chespol represent another success story of Kenya’s production line.

Last year in May at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene, U.S., the Kenyan stunned world record-holder Ruth Jebet of Bahrain to announce her arrival with a 8:58.78 mark, which was the second-fastest run of all time and a world U20 record.

And with Jebet not expected at Africa Cross Country, Chespol believes she will have better chance to progress and inscribe her name in Kenya’s hall of fame should she go on to win gold in Gold Coast in the water and hurdles event.

“I believe the caliber of competition in Gold Coast will be tough and I don’ t think the two week period separating the two events is enough for me to recover and from Africa Cross to run well in Australia. I must make decision on which race to compete in,” she added.

Chespol already tested glory at cross country when she won bronze in junior women at last year’s World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda.

Alongside the Commonwealth Games Chespol is keen to compete at the Diamond League and the World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland in July. The World Junior championship is open to athletes below 20 years of age.

             

 

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