Bethwel Birgen beat Africa silver medallist Collins Cheboi to win the 1,500m race in the second and final day of the Administration Police athletics Championships at Nyayo Stadium yesterday. Birgen, representing Nyanza, clocked 3:36.6 with Rift Valley's Cheboi returning 3:37.3. Abednego Chesebe clocked 3:39.2 for third spot.
The race was a neck-to-neck affair among the trio but it was Cheboi and Birgen who made the push in the final 100m, only for the latter to hold on for the victory. Birgen said he is impressed with his performance after a disappointing World Indoor Championship in March, where he failed to qualify for the final. "It was a tough race and the competition was high," said Birgen. "I am happy with my performance and now I will concentrate on the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Oslo and the Prefontaine Classic meet."
Cheboi was happy in defeat and said he now feels confident ahead of the IAAF permit meeting set for this weekend. He will also be running at the June 2 Prefontaine Classic. Susan Jerotich of APTC A ran away with victory in the women's race after clocking 4.33.8. She was followed by Central's Beth Wanjiru in 4.47.6 while Nancy Jemutai of APTC 'A' came in third in 4.49.0.
Guest runner Silas Kimutai, a ranger with the Kenya Wildlife Service, won the men's 5,000m in a time of 13.48.9. He was followed in second place by Mukundi Mwangi in 13:49.7 while Peter Emase completed the podium in 14.04.7. Kimutai said he is preparing hard as he tries to get her name on the national 2012 London Olympic Games list. "I have had good training run and I am hopeful of doing well at the national trials," said Kimutai. "The race was good but not as tough as I anticipated. I will now go back to my training as I seek to lower my time and ensure I make the team to the Olympics."
Selected results: women-100m: 1. Perpetual Mbutu 13.28, 2. Rosemary Kariuki 13.77, 3. Purity Muriithi 13.83; 200m: 1. Perpetual Mbutu 26.9, 2. Rosemary Kariuki 27.1, 3. Caren Saina 29.5;400m: 1. Chepngeno Langat 57.97, 2. Nelly Anjere 1.04.02, 3. Chepchumba Kigen 1.06.91; Men-100m: Saitoti Lentirwa 11.16, 2. Richard Kamau 11.40, 3. Samuel Ooro 11.56; 200m: 1. Saitoti Lentirwa 22.10, 2. Chris Anene 22.72, Richard Kamau 22.81; 400m: 1. Kiplimo Kiplimo (48.22 sec), 2. Joel Keter (48.86), 3. Mathew Mutai (49.13).