By AYUMBA AYODI
Seasoned Viola Kibiwott and Margaret Jelimo have been included in the national team for the World Cross Country Championships due on March 28 in Guiyang, China.
Kibiwott, who won the World Cross Country junior titles in 2001 in Oostende and 2002 in Dublin after bronze in 2000 Vilamoura, and Jelimo, finished seventh and eighth respectively during the National Championships cum trials on February 14.
They have been drafted in the team that is currently training at high altitude in Kigari, Embu, to cover for Alice Aprot, who has a hip injury.
If selected in the final squad it will be Jelimo’s maiden appearance for Kenya but Kibiwott’s seventh showing at the World Cross for Kenya. Kibiwott finished seventh in senior women’s 8km race during the 2013 event in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Aprot’s injury worry comes up as uncertainty hit the team’s training camp after Africa and National champion Faith Chepng’etich was flown to the Netherlands for treatment for a a metatarsal injury.
Athletics Kenya chief executive officer Isaac Mwangi said Cheng’etich’s position has also been covered by the World Cross Country defending champion Emily Chebet. Chebet had been given a wild card to the team despite finishing 14th during the trials.
Chepng’etich, who is also the reigning World Cross Country junior champion, retained the National Cross Country title on Valentine’s Day.
The women’s 12km team also has Agnes Jebet, who is the 2013 World Junior Cross silver medallist, Janeth Kisa, Iken Chebet and Stacy Ndiwa.
“They will step in for Aprot in case she doesn’t fully recover before departure on March 24,” said Mwangi.
“We have also not completely ruled out Chepng’etich since we are yet to get a full report on her situation. She can still run but on heavy pain killers,” said Mwangi. “Chepng’etich is still young but we shall exclude her if we deem it neccesary for he well being.”
Mwangi said Korir had to prove himself after getting a wild card despite not finishing in top 20 during the national championships.
Korir made history as the youngest ever winner of men’s 12km aged 19 at the 2013 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Interestingly, before winning in Poland, Korir had been dropped when the final squad for the 2013 Championships was named but was recalled just before boarding the bus from Embu.
Kenya won three individual titles at the 2013 event in Poland: Korir, senior men’s 12km; Emily Chebet, senior women’s 8km and Faith Chepng’etich, junior women’s 6km.
The final team — six for each category — is due to be named this weekend before departure on March 24.
They will be looking forward to retaining the titles and reclaiming junior men’s 8km crown. Leonard Barsaton, who has graduated to senior ranks, won silver in 2013. The men’s team has red-hot Bedan Karoki.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke