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.
plans to take over from Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot,
and has shown her ability to dominate in the Kenyan
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
“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
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.