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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya’s Chespol to compete at Africa
cross country, Commonwealth Games 

NAIROBI (Xinhua)--  World Youth 2,000m steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol of Kenya is set to double up in both the Africa Cross Country Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

The 19-year-old plans to take over from Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot, and has shown her ability to dominate in the Kenyan championships.

She had doubts over her ability to double in the two events, but she has been prevailed upon to run in both.

“I love competing in cross country events because it helps me improve on my stamina and endurance, which is critical on track competition. I won in Uganda in cross country and went on to win the World Youth title on the track,” she said on Thursday.

Indeed, the World Cross Country Junior bronze medalist will be among a horde of Kenyan athletes who will be arriving in Chelf, Algeria on March 17 for the Africa cross Country Championships to add more medals to their collection.

Kenya won 10 of the 12 medals that were on offer in Yaounde, Cameroon two years ago, with Uganda and Ethiopia each taking one medal.

“It will be tough because Ethiopia will always come back stronger,” said head Coach John Kimetto.

The Kenya team of 24 athletes is already in camp in Embu, eastern Kenya and coach Kimetto remained optimistic they will polish areas they are weak.

“Cross country is about team work and strategy. That is what we will be working on and then we will see how they individually develop,” he said.

“We will be doing a minimum of two sessions daily with the first three weeks dedicated to endurance. Later, we can concentrate on speed and then finish with recovery procedures,” added Kimetto.

By Wednesday, only four athletes were yet to report to camp. National Cross Country champion Stacy Ndiwa, Chespol, Chebet were among those not in camp.

Kimetto said that in the event the athletes fail to show up in camp, they will replace them immediately with others.

“Some may want to focus on the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April. I will respect that and will see how best to call in another athlete to take up the slot. It is upon the athletes who made the team to Gold Coast to make a decision on where they want to be. Athletes like Sandrafelis Chebet and Chespol have confirmed they will run in both competitions,” added Kimetto.

             

 

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