Curtains Down on the 40th Edition of Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships 2019

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Sergeant Hellen Obiri leads the pack in the 10,000m women race to win during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championships 2019

It was an exciting action packed day as the 40th Edition of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Athletics Championships that kicked off on 2 July 2019 came to a close on 4 July 2019 at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.

The three – day annual event is geared towards promoting espirit de corps and sportsmanship among the troops, whilst providing a platform to select a team that will represent the Kenya Defence Forces in the forthcoming National Athletics Championships to be held from 15-17 August 2019, and the East Africa Military Games scheduled for the 19-31 August 2019 at the same venue.
This year’s championship saw new KDF records broken in the Hammer throwing category in which Corporal Dominic Abunda clicked 61.54 metres effectively breaking his old record of 59 meters as Corporal Lucy Omondi set a new record of 52.6 meters in the female category, overwriting the existing one of 49.0 meters.

This year’s championships saw new athletes come up strongly against world renowned athletes who had to push harder to exert their dominance.

Notably, the World 5000m record holder Sergeant Helen Obiri from Laikipia Air Base Team won the 10,000 m in a time of 31:43.0 beating her closest competitor Senior Private (Spte) Joyciline Jepkosgei of Modika Barracks who came second in 31:43.8- two days after she won the 5000m in a time of 15:19.1- followed by Sapper Irene Kamais who clocked 32:04.6.
Several athletes showed their skill to lead in various categories:Spte Benson Maina (Shot Put men),Norah Jeptoo (Pole Vault women), L/Cpl Petronilla Mwombe (Long Jump Women), Spte Bethwel Kibet Lagat (Long Jump men), Spte Vedic Cheruiyot (10,000m men), Spte Jerioth Gathogo (100m hurdles), Spte Mercy Wanjiru (3000m women steeplechase), Spte Peter Ndegwa( 5000m men) amongst other champions in various track and field events.

When the dust settled and the tune from the band faded, Laikipia Air Base emerged the best overall team with ten Gold medals, 5 silver and 7 Bronze medals. Second runners up were the Nanyuki team with 8 Gold medals, 6 Silver medals and 1 Bronze medal. Third position went to Moi Air Base with 6 gold medals, 7 Silver medals and 5 Bronze medals. The prizes and trophies were awarded by the Cabinet Secretary for Defence who was the chief guest during the closing ceremony.

In her speech,  Ambassador Omamo congratulated all the sportsmen and women for displaying a high degree of sportsmanship and putting in all their efforts in the championship.

“Every year you go out and prove the sportsmanship and skill we as KDF have. I wish you all the best in the upcoming games, stay focused,maintain discipline and don’t let down your guard,”she said as she urged the selected team to fly high the KDF and national flag.

On his part, the Vice Chief of Defence Forces Lieutenant General Robert Kibochi equally lauded all those that had managed to secure a spot in the Athletics Kenya Defence Forces Team (AKDF) and challenged those who hadn’t to train harder for better performance next time. He expressed his confidence in the selected team and hoped they will win the National title and strive to retain the title in the forthcoming East Africa Military games set for August 2019 in Nairobi.His sentiments were echoed by the Chairman AKDF Brigadier James Githaga who assured the nation at large that KDF was the team to watch.

Also present throughout the competitions was the event’s main sponsor Co-operative Bank.The bank’s representative Mr. William Ndumia who is the Director, Retail and Business Banking who spoke during the closing ceremony affirmed the bank’s commitment to continue partnering with KDF in future competitions noting that Co-operative bank has been the main sponsor for the KDF athletics championship for the past ten years.
Amongst a host of dignitaries present during the closing ceremony was the Assistant Chief of the Defence Forces, Personnel and Logistics, Major General Fatumah Ahmed, the Commandant Defence Staff College Lieutenant General Adan Mulata,Senior Military Officers, Officers, Service Members and members of the public.

After all was said and done, the day was capped by a fly past of an F5 Jet from Laikipia Air Base signifying that the news of their victory had been received loud and clear.

Corporal Dominic Abunda throws a hammer to win and break his own record during the 40th edition of the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championship 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre - KasaraniCorporal Dominic Abunda throws a hammer to win and break his own record during the 40th edition of the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championship 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre – Kasarani
Lance Corporal Miriam Chepkemboi (204) wins the 4 X 100 Relays Women during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championship during the 40th Edition of the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championship at Moi International Sports Center- KasaraniLance Corporal Miriam Chepkemboi (204) wins the 4 X 100 Relays Women during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championship during the 40th Edition of the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championship at Moi International Sports Center- Kasarani
Senior Private Meshack Nderitu celebrates after winning the 3000m steeple chase during the Kenya Defence Forces championship 2019 at Moi International Sports center - KasaraniSenior Private Meshack Nderitu celebrates after winning the 3000m steeple chase during the Kenya Defence Forces championship 2019 at Moi International Sports center – Kasarani
Cabinet Secretary Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo awards the overall trophy to the Commander Laikipia Air Base Brigadier John Omenda during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championships 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre - KasaraniCabinet Secretary Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo awards the overall trophy to the Commander Laikipia Air Base Brigadier John Omenda during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics championships 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre – Kasarani