Runners in the Under-20 women's race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017. Picture credit: Jiro Mochizuki

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Kenyan teenager Mathew Kimeli steps up with victory in senior men’s cross country race

ITEN, Kenya, December 11– In his final month in the Under-20 ranks, 19-year-old Mathew Kimeli showed he is more than ready to make the transition into the seniors after winning the senior men’s 10km at the fourth Athletics Kenya Cross Country meeting in Iten on Saturday.

One of Colm O’Connell’s newest proteges, Kimeli came to prominence during the track season when he finished a close second to Mo Farah in the 10,000m at the Ostrava Golden Spike in a 27:14.43 PB just four days after competing at the Kenyan Trials where he just missed out on a place on the team for the IAAF World Championships in sixth.

The teen transferred that form onto the roads with some fast times in the autumn, including a 27:11 PB at the Birell Prague Grand Prix, and he is now showing what he can do at cross country.

Kimeli is yet to represent Kenya internationally but he could challenge for a place on the team for the African Cross Country Championships in Chlef, Algeria in March after winning at the Iten Grounds in 28:57 ahead of Erick Kiptanui (29:07) and Daniel Kipchumba (29:10).

In the senior women’s race, Gloria Kite claimed victory in 33:11 ahead of Agnes Chebet (33:19) with 9:03 steeplechaser Norah Jeruto a distant third in 34:03. Kite told the local press she is aiming to make the Kenyan team over 1 500m or 5 000m at the Commonwealth Games next April.

In the Under-20 races, Rhonex Kipruto and Mercy Chepkorir claimed decisive victories over 8km in 22:42 and 6km in19:55.

Sarah Pagano claimed a dominant win in the individual 6km at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, on Saturday in 19:40 but her team Boston Athletic Association missed out on the team title despite fielding three finishers in the top seven.

Led by Chelsea Blaase in second in 19:49, Hanson-Brooks Distance Project athletes packed well with their second and third counters finishing third and fourth. Their five scoring counters posted a winning tally of 55, five points ahead of Boston Athletic Association.

There was more success for Hanson-Brooks Distance Project in the men’s race as Ian La Mere claimed the individual 10km in 29:10 by two seconds ahead of Emmanuel Bor in 29:12 but with their five scoring counters all finishing inside the top-11 Tinman Elite claimed the team title with 41 points.

Improving Burundian distance runner Cavaline Nahimana took two notable victories on Spanish soil in the space of 48 hours.

The 20-year-old, who finished 19th at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017 in March, won the senior women’s race at the Cross de Cantimpalos on Friday in 25:55 ahead of Teresa Urbina (26:14) and Elena Garcia (26:14).

Two days later, Nahimana won again at the Cross Castellano-Manchego in Quintanar on Sunday (10) in 27:47 by one second from Cristina Espejo.

In the senior men’s race in Cantimpalos, European 5 000m champion Ilias Fifa claimed the win in 29:23 ahead of Ayoud Mokhtar in 29:24 while Morocco’s Said Aitadi won in Quintanar ahead of Kenya’s Silas Nwetich (30:06), who had to settle for second after winning in Granollers last weekend. – African News Agency (ANA)

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