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Rhonex, Tirop shine: Youngsters raise dust to win Tuskys cross country titles in Eldoret

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Former world cross country champion Agnes Tirop and world under 20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto braved the windy and sunny conditions to win the 11th edition of Tuskys Cross country held at Huruma Grounds, Eldoret yesterday.

The victory saw the duo win a brand new saloon car each. It was a battle of titans as world junior 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet outshone reigning Olympic Youth 1,500m champion Edna Jebitok and world youth 3,000m silver medalist Emmaculate Chepkirui to win the 6km junior women. Michael Bett dominated the 8km junior men.

Tirop overcame stiff competition from former Africa 3,000m steeplechase champion Norah Jeruto and former world 2,000m steeplechase champion Sandra Chebet to emerge victorious.

Fresh from winning Chebara Dam cross country meeting in Elgeyo Marakwet, Tirop clocked 33:14.5 ahead of Jeruto ( 33:34.8 ) and Chebet’s 33:37.4.

Tirop, who plans to reclaim her world cross country title in Denmark next year, stepped into the lead at 8km after upstaging former Barcelona marathon champion Valary Aiyabei, Africa Games 10,000m champion Alice Aprot.

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In men’s senior races, Rhonex, who missed the world 10km road race record by just two seconds showed his intentions after just 2km.

He stormed into the lead in the first lap, opened a gap which he defended until the end to claim the title in 29:38.1 ahead of newcomers Davis Kimeli ( 29:55.9 ) and Shadrack Kimutai ( 30:07.3 ).

“This was part of my training as I head for a series of cross countries across the world,” said Kipruto who admitted that he knew the race was to be tough hence stepping into the lead early.

Chebet won the 6km junior race in 20:20.53 ahead of Jebitok ( 20:38.23 ) and Chepkirui ( 20:31.91 ). Kibet, winner of the Tecla Loroupe Peace race in West Pokot two weeks ago, won the boys’ title in 23:51.1 ahead of Bravin Kogei ( 24:81.22 ) and Charles Kakuri ( 24:03.4 ).

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