February 18, 2012 / 2:12 PM / 7 years ago

Athletics-Karoki wins Kenyan championship in weakened field

NAIROBI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Japan-based Bedan Karoki won the men’s Kenyan cross country championship on Saturday over 12 kms ahead of Timothy Too in a sprint finish.

Karoki clocked 35 minutes 19.2 seconds to Too’s 35:25.0 with Vincent Kiprop third in 35:37.0.

The women’s eight kms race was won by Joyce Chemtai in 26:08.0 ahead of another cross country veteran Margaret Wangare, who clocked 26:09.4.

World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat finished third in 26:12.8 and the 2010 world cross country champion Emily Chebet was fourth.

Several leading runners opted to miss the championships after the world governing body’s decision to make the world championships a biennial instead of an annual event. The world championships will not be staged this year.

Saturday’s race will instead decide the team to compete at the Africa cross country championships in Cape Town on March 18.

The men’s race failed to attract defending champion, Geoffrey Mutai, who is also the New York and Boston marathon champion.

Twice world marathon champion Abel Kirui and Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion Richard Mateelong also stayed away.

Double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, former 10,000 world champion Linet Masai and Dubai marathon champion Lucy Kabuu were absent from the women’s race.

(Writing by James Macharia; Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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