The Kenyan leg of the World Cross Country Gold Tour event, brought athletics stars from across 16 countries and saw the peerless Kipyegon take victory in 33 minutes and 50 seconds, ahead of second placed Commonwealth steeplechase champion Jackline Jepkoech.
In the men’s event, the National Cross Country champion Charles Lokir backed his victory from two weeks ago with another victorious performance as claimed top honours with a winning time of 30 minutes and 14 seconds.
Speaking on her win, Kipeygon said that despite having a tough race, she enjoyed the competition which were part of her pre-season preparations, adding that she looked forward to competing in Sirikwa again next year.
“This is the first race of my season and it feels quite good. I felt slightly afraid coming into the competition but with the support and encouragement from my team, I managed it.”
Koech Meshack claimed honours in the Under 18 event 6 kilometre race while Chepchirchir Yvonne emerged winner in the women’s set.
Lucy Nduta put on a stunning display on her return to the championship to win the women;s Under 20 heat while Samuel Kimathi battled it out to a close finish, besting his opponent Stanley Kiprop to claim the men’s event in the same group.
Speaking on behalf of main sponsors Absa, who came in with a sponsorship sum of KES 2 million for Head of Citizenship & Sustainability Charles Wokabi lauded the socio-economic contribution of local athletics events such as the Sirikwa Cross Country, urging more corporates to invest in the development of grassroots athletics.
“Athletics is a major passion point for Kenyans across all parts of the country. We believe that through strategic partnerships, we can play a role in growing our athletics scene to world class standards ,” said Mr Wokabi.
This was the first time Absa bank sponsored the annual cross country competition.
Absa have previously sponsored the past two editions of the KipKeino Classic as well as the trials for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.