Will young runner Kirui shine in Australia after heartbreak in Mauritius? – Capital Sports
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 – Kenya’s Ismael Kirui believes the World Cross Country Championship in Bathurst, Australia will be his chance to redeem himself after a poor performance at the Senior Africa Athletics Championships in Reduit, Mauritius.
The youngster qualified to represent the country at the continental showpiece but faltered in his first-ever international assignment, finishing sixth in the men’s 5000m.
Kirui admits that the disappointment in Reduit was hard to take and is determined to make up for the heartbreak by making the podium at the World Cross Country Championships.
“This will be the second time I am representing Kenya at the international level. Obviously, my expectations and that of Kenyans who follow me closely is to do better than I did in Mauritius. I couldn’t perform well because of an injury I had and even when I came back for the national trials for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games, I was unsuccessful. Therefore, I had to recover first and come back hard in training,” the Baringo-based athlete said.
Kirui secured his ticket to the rescheduled global showpiece when he clocked 23:02.09 to win the men’s under 20 8km race at the national trials at the Kenya Prisons Training College on Saturday.
In second place was World Under 20 1500m champion Reynold Kipkorir who timed 23:06.7 as Dennis Kipkirui came third in 23:12.5.
Apart from earning him the right to don the national singlet in February next year in Bathurst, the win in Ruiru also affirmed the youngster’s continued ‘love affair’ with cross country, which began when he won the juniors’ category at the Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country Tour and has continued with more victories in the Athletics Kenya Cross Country Weekend meetings.
Speaking on his dominance of the juniors’ category as far as the race is concerned, Kirui attributed it to his dedication and dogged attitude.
“I wouldn’t say that (about being a dominant force in cross country)…there are many others who are just as good as I am but I guess what pushes me is my determination to produce good results. The race itself was tough because every one here is a champion in his own right,” he said.
Meanwhile, World Under 20 3000m steeplechase champion Faith Cherotich contends that all eyes will be on her as she carries the national flag high at the World Cross Country Championships.
Cherotich clocked 19:16.0 to clinch the women under 20 6km race at the national trials, ahead of Sheila Chebet (19:32.8) and Joyline Chepkemoi (19:35.5) in second and third respectively.
“Yes…since I won in Colombia, I know everyone will be watching out for me to see how I perform in Australia. So, of course, the pressure is there but I will try my best to overcome. I came here and won and that is a great step forward as we plot for the World Cross Country,” she said.