Defending champions Augustine Choge and Caroline Chepkoech will be out to retain their titles when the Kenya Police Cross Country championships go down tomorrow at Ngong racecourse.Choge faces a litmus test in former Police champion and two-time world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor as well as Emmanuel Bett, who finished third last year, James Kitum and Bethwell Birgen.Bett has been in fine form in the Athletics Kenya cross country circuit winning the Olkalou, Sotik and Tuskys Wareng in Eldoret.The mixed relays will see reigning world 1500m champion Elijah Manangoi go head to head with former world and Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop.Chepkoech will be back to defend the senior women’s 10km race but should not expect an easy ride with former wold 800m champion Eunice Sum, former world 3000m steeplechase champion Hyving Kiyeng, former Commonwealth Youth Games 1500m champion Stacey Ndiwa, Beatrice Chepkoech and Janet Kisa also also interested in the title.National Police Service coach Isaac Kirwa said he expects the law enforcers to form the bulk Team Kenya to the Africa Cross Country Championships in Algeria in March.“We have a good crop of athletes in our team. Last year, we had the majority of athletes in the team to the World Cross Country Championships in Uganda and we hope it will be the same this year,” said Kirwa.He said the course will be tough and challenging to the participants as they have made alterations to the route that was used last year.“The conditions are expected to be hot and we have made some minor changes to the course to make it tough for the competitors in all the categories,” added Kirwa.He added that the athletes will be using the championships as part of their preparations for the Commonwealth Games trials next months. Kirwa revealed that preparations for the event are almost complete and he expects a big turnout“We expect a huge turnout from the various units and maybe we will have surprise winners on Saturday,” he observed.Meanwhile, world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri will be seeking to defend her Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country title at the Moi Air Base, Nairobi today.The KDF Corporal won last year’s 36th edition of the event having timed 32 minutes and 49.08 seconds holding off Jemima Sumgong to the silver position in a time of 33:16.9.But in the absence of Sumgong (who is serving a four-year ban), Obiri, the 2017 female Athlete of the Year who has also been nominated for the SOYA Award will face competition from Senior Private Joyciline Jepkosgei, who finished third (33:29.08) at the Thika Garrison last year.This will be Obiri’s second race within one week, having clocked 19:28.00 to finish fourth at the 61st edition of Campaccio race in SAN Giorgio Su Legnano, Italy on January 6.With the men’s defending champion Emmanuel Kipsang from Mtongwe yet to confirm his participation, World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui will lead the men’s title contest.Corporal Steven Arita of Nairobi is the other notable cross country regular who is expected to spice up the title contest as runners seek slots in the Defence Forces team to the national cross country championships and eventually a chance to represent the country in Algeria. Kabras have bolstered their playing unit by signing Uganda Sevens star Pius Ogena for the reminder of the season.Coach Charles Cadovillis said the capture of Ogena will be a good addition to the side as they seek to reclaim the league crown they last won in 2016. “He will bring some good competition for our current centres, who have been massive. With us playing Quins, Nondies, Impala and Homeboyz in that order, it will really test our strength both physically and mentally, something we are working on with the boys,” said Cadovillis.The sugarmillers have also signed Brian Bango from Strathmore Leos and Quins duo of Kelly Akengo and Alfred Odawa. Cadovillis said having depth in the squad will be key. “It’s a long season and with many players at your disposal is always an advantage. Having many players competing for positions helps us keep the them fresh and ready for the playoffs,” added Cadovillis.The club have also parted ways with Levy Ochieng and Francis Mutuku, who join Nondies.Elsewhere, the Kenya Rugby Union has expanded their Judicial Panel following the addition of six officers. They include Ian Amagola, Oliver Khabure, George Mbaye, Daniel Ndaba, Aggrey Chabeda and Mwendwa Chuma who join Willy Ombisi, Bernard Itebete, Edwin Obuya and Mukite Musangi in an expanded panel of 10.KRU fixtures administrator Martin Ngunjiri said: “With an expanded panel, we will have a wider reach across all levels of league competitions countrywide and will be able to resolve disputes in an expedited manner.”“We will additionally release weekly rotas indicating the Judicial Officers on duty on each match day,” he added. Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) can now go ahead and hold their Annual General Meeting tomorrow after the High Court dismissed a suit that had sought to block them from doing so.Justice Joseph Sergon, in a ruling yesterday said Hockey Kenya Federation, who had sought orders against the union were unregistered entity hence lack the legal authority to approach court.The Judge declined to rule in favour of HKF, saying blocking the union from conducting their affairs would seriously inconvenience them as opposed to the federation if the order for injunction is granted. “I am persuaded by the union’s argument that in the circumstances the applicant lacks the requisite locus standi to pursue the remedy for injunction,” the judge said.HKF had sued Sports Cabinet Secretary, Sports Registrar and the Attorney General, saying KHU were illegal entity as they had not reviewed their constitution nor conducted elections within a year as required by law. Through their chairman, George Jalang’o, the federation sought to restrain the union from conducting the AGM scheduled for tomorrow, pending the hearing and determination of the suit. HKF further wanted the court to compel the union to produce copies of annual Audited Financial Report from 2013 to date.Also sought was a list of registered office bearers and a copy of the constitution. Their argument was, if the AGM is allowed to go on as scheduled, it would prejudice the outcome of another ruling pending before a different court. The group also argued that the Sports Act allows club members to participate in the election of the union.The union had termed the case as frivolous, vexatious, and incompetent and an abuse of the court process. They told the court that issues that were being pursued by the group had been resolved by the sports dispute Tribunal. “Since the HKF are not members, they have no locus or legal basis to purport to interfere with our affairs by demanding to be provided with audit report,” the union argued. The court was also told that the union had expended a lot of money in preparation of their AGM and it will cost them untold damages and loss if the order sought are granted.In ruling, justice Sergon said the federation failed to establish a proper case, and show court the irreparable damage it will suffer if the order is denied.The judge noted that delegates from Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu and other counties have already been paid to attend the AGM to be held at Parklands Sports Club.The dispute between the two arose after HKF filed a petition before Sports Dispute Tribunal in which they sought an order of declaration that KHU are non-existent in law, they are unlawful, unfit and lack capacity to run any hockey affairs in Kenya. They complained that the union did not reviewtheir constitution nor conducted their elections within a year.They also accused the union of failing to comply with the provision of the new Sports Act thus they cease to exist and therefore are illegal entity. Its application was, however, dismissed prompting the current case. Rally aces have much to celebrate as the 2017 Kenya National Rally Championship embarks on the season finale at this weekend’s Fly540 KMSC Rally.Two-time Group ‘S’ rally champion Jasmeet Chana will take on outgoing 2WD champion Eric Bengi in a Mitsubishi/Subaru shootout.Minesh Rathod and Issa Amwari in R4 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 will also renew their rivalry. Rathod hopes to cement second overall position in the KNRC Division 2 in the absence of Tash Tundo, who will skip the rally for personal reasons.The 2017 KNRC has been to Eldoret, the ARC Safari Rally in Rift Valley, Nakuru last December and Kajiado. Nanyuki Rally wasn’t held this year due to farm invasions which compelled Nanyuki Rally Group to declare it a force majure on safety grounds.Jasmeet Chana aka Iceman will be fighting to secure second position on the 2017 KNRC Division 1 log in Kajiado and Lisa Farm this weekend. In an interview Chana said: “We are eagerly waiting for the last event of the 2017 to see if we can fight for second position in our division. “Preps are on course despite having had a lot of issues in Nakuru from a broken exhaust manifold to loss of 5th gear and engine wiring gremlins. “My sibling navigator Ravi has done a good job the whole season and kept me on my tracks so we expect more from him going into 2018. Rallying is a hobby and I always try to enjoy it to the fullest.”The weekend’s rally which counts towards KNRC 8 will start in Kajiado and end in Lisa Farm area in Makueni county near Mombasa/Nairobi highway.The event initially slated for November was pushed to January due to torrential rains pounding the route course then.Former national team opening bowler Martin Suji is optimistic this year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup will play a key role in shaping the country’s future in the sport.Suji, who played for the national team for over 17 years before hanging his gloves in 2005, said the World Cup, which is set to bowl off in New Zealand tomorrow, will give the Kenyan players the necessary confidence as they seek to establish themselves as future stars.“We have struggled to get our players to the top level because we haven’t been able to get to such platform. But with the World Cup, we have a platform that will give players the necessary exposed before breaking into the national team,” Suji said. Kenya will be making a return at the ICC junior event with an opening clash against immediate former champions South Africa on Sunday.The tournament, which is held every two years, gives the future stars not only a chance of playing top-level age-group cricket but also first hand experience.In conjunction with the decline in fortunes of the Kenyan senior team, the national Under-19 team failed to qualify for the World Cup for seven consecutive tournaments between 2004 and 2016. But in a stunning turn-around, the Kenyans won the 2017 ICC U19 World Cup Qualifier-Africa on home soil, defeating Uganda on net run-rate.Needing a large victory to qualify in the final game of the tournament, Kenya dismissed Uganda for just 60 runs and romped to a 7-wicket victory in just 8.3 overs.Suji, who also handled the team at one stage as they sought qualification to the tournament, said by defying all odds to qualify for the global event in New Zealand, it was a clear i8ndication that Kenyans are ready for the big stage.“We haven’t been lucky enough to get players playing at this level (U19 World Cup) before getting to the senior national team. What we have been seeing is selecting players to the national team without having gone through the phases.“This has affected us negatively as we have been forced to develop the players confidence while at the same time expected to compete,” said Suji who was also the national team coach.Cricket royalty Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith, David Warner, Joe Root, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle are just a few of the names to cut their teeth at the ICC Under-19 World Cup before going on to enjoy stardom at the elite level.Paul Tergat Foundation has entered into a one year partnership with Kenya Power in support of activities and initiatives associated with the five-time world cross country champion.Under the 12-month program Kenya Power will support some of the major programs associated with the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) President including the annual Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA). The 2017 Soya awards ceremony is set for January 17.“Thanks to partners like Kenya Power, we will not only promote healthy lifestyles among Kenyans but also fete the finest sports personalities through initiatives such as SOYA. I am particularly excited to welcome aboard our new partner,” said Tergat.“The partnership with Paul Tergat Foundation is a huge encouragement in urging Kenyans to take up sports. SOYA stands to benefit greatly since part of the resources will go a long way in organising the gala dinner set for Wednesday next week.”Kenya Power managing director, Ken Tarus said: “Kenya Power sets aside 1% of their profit after tax to support corporate social responsibility projects. Some of the projects under this include the company encouraging Kenyans to take up sports as a way of promoting good health and a good lifestyle.”“As we seek to grow, nurture and pass on the mantle to the younger generation, let us invest more in sports and make it worthwhile for individuals and the nation at large,” he urged. Paul Tergat Foundation was formed by the former world marathon record holder to support sports activities in Kenya. Some of the 2017 Soya sponsors include Safaricom (title sponsors), Kenya Power, Supersport, Multichoice Kenya, Lotto Foundation, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC), National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and New KCC.Three Kenyans booked tickets to represent the Eastern Africa region in the upcoming African Junior Championships set for March in South Africa.The three—Ryan Randiek, Angela Okutoyi and Jayson Mbogoro—won their respective regional final matches yesterday at Nairobi Club to grab the much fancied slots in the continental finals.The 16 and under boys top seed, Ryan Randiek, extended his dominance on Seychelles national Damien Laporte, beating him 6-4,6-2 to secure a place for Cape Town show. Randiek beat Laporte win the 2016 edition before retiring with an injury in last year’s edition. Yesterday, the home boy overcame resistance form his opponent to advance to the continental show.Randiek took a convincing 3-0 lead from the opening three games of the first set before relinquishing the fourth and fifth game to Laporte for a 3-2 score line. Randiek clinched the subsequent two games for 5-2 lead but his lead was cut down to a game after Laporte bagged a double to make it 5-4. However, it was the home boy who had the last laugh in the tenth game of the set to claim the first set.In the second set, Randiek conceded a paltry two games to send the Seychelles national packing and consequently received the baton to represent his region in the continental show. He said: “I am elated to be back in the African Junior Championships again and this time round, I will aim to be crowned the best. It was a tough game today considering that I have played Laporte before and he understood my tactics well. Basically, I am happy to have amassed more than 30 points in the Confederation of African Tennis and I am confident of better ranking continentally.”In the girls’ Under-14 finals, Roselida Asumwa found the going tough at the hands of her twin sister Angela Okutoyi, who floored her 6-2,6-0 to proceed to the African Championship.The experienced Okutoyi had an easy outing, dropping two games to her sister who could not match the class of her sibling. Okutoyi said: “ I am perplexed that I managed to qualify for the African Junior Championships and at the same time sorry for my sister. It’s the nature of the game. One had to be out and it’s unfortunate that it had to be her. I have to keep training for the continental event which brings the best from each region.”The boys U-14 age set will be represented by Jayson Mbogoro, who overpowered his Kenyan counterpart Kael Shah 6-2, 6-4. The United States-based Mbogoro expressed his delight after reaching the African finals. “I am happy to qualify for the continental task which will help me gain experience as well as help me bridge to the U-16 age group.”Burundi’s Aisha Niyonkuru will carry the region’s hopes in the girls’ U-16 bracket. Niyonkuru emerged the best in the final, beating her counterpart Hoziane Kitambala 6-2,6-1.Meanwhile the East Africa Davis Cup for boys in the U-16 age set will kick off today at Nairobi Club where Kenya will be represented by Randiek, Derrick Ominde and Suhail Hooker.The boys’ U-14 World Junior team will be represented by Jayson Mbogoro, Kael Shah and Brandon Sagala. In the girls U-16 team for the Fed Cup will have Sheha Kotecha, Angela Okutoyi and Claire Muthoni while the U-14 team will be led by Roselida Asumwa, Cynthia Cheruto and Alicia Owegi.Roger Federer will open his Australian Open title defence against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene next week, while top seed Rafa Nadal, the losing finalist last year, was paired with Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos at the draw yesterday.Women’s top seed Simona Halep of Romania faces Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava in the first round, with second seed Caroline Wozniacki starting out against Halep’s compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu. Serena Williams will not defend the women’s title having had her first child last year but 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who failed a drugs test at the tournament in 2016, is back unseeded after a ban and will face Germany’s Tatjana Maria.Williams’s sister Venus, who lost to her sibling in the final last year, is seeded fourth and the 37-year-old was handed a tricky first encounter against Swiss former world number seven Belinda Bencic, who is 17 years her junior.Men’s third seed Grigor Dimitrov will face a qualifier, with Alexander Zverev, ranked fourth, playing Italian Thomas Fabbiano but with 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, returning after surgery, in his section of the draw. Young gun Zverev had little luck in his first Australian Open draw as a top five seed with either Wawrinka, who plays Ricardas Berankis, or Novak Djokovic potentially standing in his path in the quarter-finals.Six-times Melbourne Park champion Djokovic, seeded 14th after missing the back end of last season with an elbow injury, will take on American lefthander Donald Young in his first match with mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils looming in round two. Federer also has Milos Raonic, Juan Martin del Potro, David Goffin and Tomas Berdych in his quarter of the draw, while Nadal would appear to have the easier section, although former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic looms as a last-eight opponent.If the draw goes to seeding, Dimitrov would face American Jack Sock in the last eight, with ailing world number five Dominic Thiem, who withdrew from Kooyong because of illness yesterday, taking on Zverev.Britain’s Andy Murray and Japan’s Kei Nishikori have already withdrawn from the championships and women’s world number three Garbine Muguruza has twice pulled out of tournaments over the last two weeks due to leg cramps and a thigh problem.
19 Sep, 2018  0  Comments
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