Three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor and 2015 world cross-country champion Agnes Tirop won the 10,000m titles at the Kenyan Championships, held at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium on Wednesday (21).
Their victories meant that Kamworor and Tirop – along with the other athletes who finished in the top three – booked their places on the Kenyan team for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 as the race doubled as an official national trial. Kenya’s trials for all other disciplines will be held on 12-13 September.
In what is arguably one of the most competitive national trial races ahead of the World Championships, Kamworor lined up alongside the likes of world U20 champion and world leader Rhonex Kipruto, Olympic silver medallist Paul Tanui, world U20 5000m silver medallist Stanley Waithaka, 2016 world U20 champion Rodgers Kwemoi and 2008 Olympic 5000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi.
But despite this being just his second track race since the IAAF World Championships London 2017, Kamworor showed no signs of race rust as he sprinted away from Kipruto in the closing stages, winning in 27:24.76.
Kipruto, who clocked a PB of 26:50.16 earlier this year when winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, was second in 27:26.34, just ahead of Kwemoi (27:26.92).
Alex Oloitiptip was fourth, missing out on making Kenya’s team for the World Championships, but he was rewarded with a 50-second PB of 27:29.40. Meanwhile, Tanui – who has picked up medals in the 10,000m at the past four global championships – did not finish.
The women’s race was even closer as little more than one second separated the top three finishers.
Tirop, the world 10,000m bronze medallist, equalised her 2019 head-to-head record with Hellen Obiri, holding off the world 5000m champion to win in 31:25.00 to Obiri’s 31:25.38. Tirop’s winning time is the fastest ever 10,000m clocking at altitude.
It was the second time Tirop has beaten Obiri this year, following her triumph over 5000m in Stockholm. Obiri, meanwhile, finished ahead of Tirop at the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Stanford and London where Tirop set PBs of 8:27.51 for 3000m and 14:20.68 for 5000m.
Rosemary Wanjiru was third in 31:26.22, guaranteeing her spot at what will be her first global championships. Brillian Jepkorir was fourth in 31:30.49. Alice Aprot, the fifth-fastest woman in history at 10,000m, finished down in 12th in 32:28.11.
The Kenyan Championships conclude on Thursday (22).
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF