Africa champ Barkach, Jelagat line up in Iten race

Africa
BERNARD ROTICH

By BERNARD ROTICH
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Athletics Kenya (AK) Cross Country county championships will be held on Saturday as athletes gear up for the National trials slated for next month.

The trials will be used to select a team that will represent Kenya during the Africa Cross Country Championships to be held in April in Lome, Togo.

The events started with five AK series in Machakos, Ol Kalou, Sotik, Kapsokwony and Iten.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, athletes will be competing ahead of the Regional Cross Country Championships to be held in Lodwar, Turkana County.

Africa Cross Country champion Alfred Barkach said that he will be participating in the race to test the waters ahead of the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championships scheduled for January 24.

“I will be running in Iten as part of my training as I prepare for the KDF Cross Country Championships. The race is good for gauging my performance but I’m focused on retaining my title in the Africa Cross Country Championships in Lome, Togo.

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Family Bank Half Marathon champion Nancy Jelagat will also be lining up for the race as she seeks to get a ticket at the regional level in the senior category.

“I have proper good training and I will be expecting good results. My target is to get a slot to represent the country during the Africa Cross Country Championships in Lome,” said Jelagat, who trains under coach Erick Kogo.

Preparations for the championship which will be held at the heart of athletics, commonly known as the ‘Home of Champions’, are complete.

According to the Athletics Kenya North Rift Region Public Relations Officer Boniface Tiren, they expect a big number of athletes because it’s the last series ahead of the county championships.

“Preparations are complete and we shall be expecting a good number of athletes. Many of the athletes are using the race to gauge their performance after the AK series which came to an end last weekend. We expect to pick a strong team that will be heading to the regionals next weekend in Lodwar, Turkana County,” said Tiren.

The North Rift region consists of Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, Samburu and West Pokot Counties.

Kenya will be seeking to retain various titles won during the 5th edition that took place in Chlef, Algeria in 2018.

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