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Kibet stuns star field to win World Championships ticket

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AYUMBA AYODI

By AYUMBA AYODI
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A new star was born when little-known Michael Kibet from Iten stormed to victory in men’s 5,000m on Thursday to qualify for the World Championships set to run from September 27 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

Kibet, who has never represented Kenya at any level, stayed behind the pack before bolting out with 300m to go to triumph in 13 minutes and 26.83 seconds.

Kibet edged out National 5,000m champion Daniel Simiyu to second place in 13:27.95.

Nicholas Kimeli came in third in 13:27.99 as favourite and World Under-20 5,000m Edward Zakayo, who is still recovering from pneumonia, finished a distant ninth in 14:02.44.

“It’s a great feeling beating such a strong field to get to represent Kenya for the first time ever,” said the 21-year-old Kibet. “I am not surprised since i trained and planned well for the race.”

“He told me to stay behind and go for the kill with two laps to go and it worked,” Kibet said of his coach, William Koila.

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Athletes compete in the men's 5,000m final at Nyayo National Stadium on September 12, 2019 during the World Championships trials. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Athletes compete in the men’s 5,000m final at Nyayo National Stadium on September 12, 2019 during the World Championships trials. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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However, there is the likelihood of Athletics Kenya doing away with the 1-2-3 selection for the World Championships.

AK director for Competition Paul Mutwii said they are likely to give a will card when they name the final team on Friday.

Vannice Kerubo of National Police Service scales the last hurdle to win the Women's 400m hurdles final at Nyayo National Stadium on September 12, 2019 during the World championships trials. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Vannice Kerubo of National Police Service scales the last hurdle to win the Women’s 400m hurdles final at Nyayo National Stadium on September 12, 2019 during the World championships trials. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Ulinzi Youth, JYSA face-off in Chapa Dimba final

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Either Laikipia’s Ulinzi Youth or JYSA from Thika will on Sunday be crowned the new Central region Chapa Dimba na Safaricom boys’ champions.

JYSA, coached by Mark Lukang, had to rally from behind to beat Irigiro from Maragua 2-1 at the fully-packed Nanyuki Stadium in Laikipia to qualify for the final.

Pio Auma fired Irigiro ahead in the 11th minute of the clash, but JYSA responded through Dickson Elegae nine minutes later. Thereafter, the clash was balanced, but with few of scoring chances.

And just when the hundreds of supporters who had turned up for the match thought the contest would be decided on penalties, Roy Kimoi struck from close range to put his side in the finals.

Lokang said he was happy to advance to final and is looking forward to winning the title for the first time.

“Where we have reached is because of the hard work. It will be tough but we will find a way and hopefully win the title,” said Lokang.

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In the second boys’ semi-final, hosts Ulinzi Youth beat Kiamutugu from Kirinyaga by a solitary goal to the set stage for the showdowns against JYSA in the final.

Brian Kasure made amends for his early miss, with a 17th minute strike, which Paul Wachuga, who had been impressive at Kiamutugu’s goal failed to deal with.

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Ulinzi Youth coach Vincent Otieno expressed confidence of lifting the title.

“I have confidence in my boys. I believe tomorrow we will leave this place happy having won the title,” said Otieno.

Last year’s winners Euronuts exited the tournament in the group stages.

Ulinzi Youth 1- 0 Kiamutugu

Girls: Falling Waters 12 – 0 Karima Queens

Limuru Starlets 5-1 Achievers Queens

Girls: Falling Waters v Limuru Starlets – 8.30am

Boys: JYSA v Ulinzi Youth – 10:30am

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Froome in full training, eyes fifth Tour de France

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A defiant Chris Froome insisted he is out of rehab and back in full training, focused on being in prime shape and at the starting line for the 2020 Tour de France in July.

The four-time Tour de France winner is in Gran Canaria for his first official training camp since he fractured a thigh, elbow and vertebrae in a high speed horror crash in June 2019.

Speaking from the Spanish island training camp, Froome promised that “come that start line in Nice… I’ll be ready to go”.

There had been fears Froome, who turns 35 in May, would struggle to be fit for the 2020 Tour when he showed up for the route unveiling still limping heavily in October.

But in November the Briton had his final surgery to remove screws and a large metal plate from his right hip and began full rehab.

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In an interview with the Team Ineos website the man who spearheaded what used to be Sky by winning seven Grand Tours says the prospect of a record-equalling fifth Tour de France is what has kept him going.

“I’m in Gran Canaria for my first official training camp of the season,” said Froome.

The Ineos site had pictures of Froome in full training in bright orange training shirt alongide the promising English all-rounder Tao Geoghegan Hart.
“I’ve been given all the green lights,” he beamed.

“I’m making the transition from rehab to training and feel fortunate to be back on a bike again.

“The next few months will be tough, I need to get stuck in to training. This period is about getting in the hours and getting in the kilometres,” said Froome, who often races in February having started training earlier.

“The only appointment I have set myself is the Tour de France and until then I’ll keep chipping away trying to make the most of every camp and every race building up to July.”

The Tour de Fance (June 27-July 19) actually starts a week earlier than usual in 2020 to accommodate the Tokyo Olympics.

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“(I) hope that come that start line in Nice in July I’ll be ready to go.”

Froome made no secret of his ambition to equal the five Tours de France won by Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
“The prospect of going for a fifth yellow jersey is just massive for me,” he said, echoing a frequent mantra.

“There are no guarantees in sport, no guarantees I’ll be back to challenge for it (TDF), but I’m going to give it absolutely everything I’ve got.”

Froome’s boss Dave Brailsford has overseen seven Tour de France wins with Bradley Wiggins getting the first one in 2012, guided Froome to four wins in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

But he also shepherded Welshman Geraint Thomas to a hugely popular victory in 2018 before Colombian whiz-kid Egan Bernal became his first winner under Ineos colours in 2019.

Last week Brailsford, playing his Froome cards close to his chest unveiled his Grand Tour line up from a hugely competitive Ineos roster.

“As it stands,” Brailsford said, “Geraint and Egan (will) take on the challenge and focus on the Tour (de France).”

With regards to Froome, Brailsford said his star was “craving that big fifth win”.

“He’s working very, very hard at the minute to get back to the level required to be competitive,” he said.

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Ulinzi hope to march to maiden Chapa Dimba boys’ title

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Ulinzi Youth players celebrate their goal against Kiamatugu during the semi-finals of the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom tournament at the Nanyuki Stadium on January 18, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NANYUKI, Kenya, Jan 18 – On their debut, Ulinzi Youth is optimistic of clinching the Central Region Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom title after narrowly edging out Kirinyaga’s Kiamatugu by a solitary goal at the Nanyuki Stadium on Saturday to book a slot in Sunday’s final.

Brian Kefero scored the lone goal for the ‘military boys’ based at the Laikipia Air Base (LAB) and a junior team to Kenyan Premier League club Ulinzi Stars which is based in Nakuru.

They will take on Juja’s JYSA in what is expected to be a closely contested final.

The military boys broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Kafero scored from the edge of the six yard box after running into an Anthony Masinde cross from the left.

The goal had been coming for the home side as they had started strong on attack. Masinde and Kafero had combined earlier on in the ninth minute when Kafero forced the keeper into a full stretch save after taking a stinging shot off a Masinde cutback.

Action between Ulinzi Youth and Kiamatugu during the semi-finals of the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom tournament at the Nanyuki Stadium on January 18, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

After the goal, Ulinzi still commanded possession in Kiamatugu’s half and came close again in the 19th minute but Kelvin Akmat’s shot from range went just over with the keeper off his line.

Kiamatugu were limited in their forays upfront, but they were given a chance in the 25th minute off a freekick from range, but Stephen Mwaniki struck inches wide with the keeper well beaten.

Kafero should have scored his second 10 minutes from the break but he failed to put the ball into the net after doing well to loop it over the keeper who was speeding off his line.

The second half was a closely contested affair but the home side had more chances with George Okwaro shooting wide unmarked from the left while goal scorer Kafero had two more chances with shots from inside the box that went wide.

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