Kosimbei takes Karoki’s World X-country ticket


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The 2014 World Junior Championships 10,000 metres bronze medallist Nicholas Kosimbei has replaced Bedan Karoki in Kenya’s cross country team to the world championships in Kampala next month.

Japan-based Karoki, a silver medallist at the 2015 World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China, finished second at last Saturday’s national championships but opted out of the Kampala trip to focus on his marathon debut at the April 23 London Marathon.

Kosimbei finished seventh during the championships at Uhuru Gardens with Athletics Kenya picking the first six across the line for the team to the World Cross Country Championships will be held on March 26 at the Kololo Independence Grounds.

Also called up to the mixed relays team are Winfred Mbithe from Kenya Police Service and Mark Bett from the Kenya Prisons Service. They join Asbel Kiprop, Margaret Nyairera, Bernard Kipkorir and Beatrice Chepkoech.

The team heads to camp at the Kigari Teachers College in Embu today for residential training ahead of the Kampala assignment.

Karoki, who is also the World Half Marathon Championships silver medallist, had before the nationals indicated that he won’t be part at the Kampala assignment irrespective of his performance.

Karoki, who is also the World Half Marathon silver medallist, had before National Cross Country event indicated that he won’t take part at the Kampala World Cross Country Championships irrespective of his performance.

Karoki said he would use the nationals to prepare for his marathon debut in London on April 23.

Karoki, who was chasing his fourth national crown, would settle second behind his Kenya Police teammate Leonard Barsoton. World Cross Country gold medallist Geoffrey Kamworor wrapped up the last podium place.

It will be Kosimbei’s second appearance for Kenya since the 2014 World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA where he finished third in 10,000m final behind winner Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda and compatriot Elvis Cheboi.

The 20-year-old Kosimbei, who will once again face off Cheptegei, who will lead Uganda’s assault, joins Barsoton, Kamworor, Vincent Rono, Leonard Komon and Leonard Lagat in the Kenyan camp.

Mbithe formed Kenya Police team of World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, Collins Cheboi and Beatrice Chepkoech that won the Mix Relays competition.

Bett was in Kenya Prisons team of Olympic 800m bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera, Hosea Cherongei and Josephine Nyakara that finished third at the Nationals.

Mbithe and Bett now form up the Mixed Relays team that has Kiprop, Nyairera, Chepkoech and Cheboi.

Athletics Kenya vice president in charge of competitions Paul Mutwii said Kosimbei’s elevation was in view of his performance on Saturday. “Karoki communicated officially and we saw it wise to slot in Kosimbei, who is a good prospect. He is young and we are glad to have him in Team Kenya again,” said Mutwii.

Mutwii called upon all the athletes named in the team to congregate at Riadha House by noon Wednesday before departure to Kigari for the one month camp before leaving for Kampala on March 23.

Kenya is eying to retain both senior men and women titles that Kamworor and Agnes Tirop won in 2015 in Guiyang, China besides reclaiming the junior titles.

Tirop has the opportunity to defend her title, having finished fifth during the Kenyan trials won by Irene Cheptai. Two-time World Cross Country junior gold medallist Faith Chepng’etich, who is also the Olympic 1,500m champion,  2013 World Youth 3,000m champion Lilian Kasait and Africa Cross Country champion Alice Aprot and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng also make the senior women’s team.

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