Friday, March 12, 2010

Debutant Kiplangat out to justify inclusion in squad

By Mutwiri Mutuota

Although he insists his name is Isaiah Kiplangat, the moniker ‘Chairman’ has stuck to him like glue.

When he was included in the national junior 8km men’s team after the February 20 selection event for the Bydgoszcz World Cross, Athletics Kenya (AK) general secretary, David Okeyo, quipped: "Maybe one day, he will be the chairman of AK."

All the banter surrounds the lanky dark lad since his name sounds like that of the AK supremo, Isaiah Kiplagat.

But for the teenage World Youth 3,000m champion, managing the governing body of his sport is far from his mind as he focuses on the task ahead in Poland.

"It will be my first time to compete at the World Cross and I aim to do well there," Kiplagat states. The ‘Chairman’ earned his first trip in the famed red, green and black running strip last year when he won the 3,000m race in 7:55.5 during the Trials for Bressanone World Youth here he made David Bett (7:56.2) his bridesmaid.

In Italy, Kiplangat once again led Bett to the podium, winning gold in 7:51.51, a championship record, where the silver medallist chalked a personal best 7:52.13.

The Form Four student at Selibwet Secondary, Kiplangat, who was born in Keringet, Molo District, is also keen on his bookwork, taking time off to study at the Kigari Teachers Training College residential base in Embu despite the rigorous training schedule.

"I’m not ready to follow my great compatriots to professional ranks yet. I want to go as far as I can in school," Kiplagat told IAAF after his dominant World Youth victory.

In keeping with his striking progress in the career, he took up in 2008 while in Form Two at Selibwet, Kiplangat earned his ticket for Poland after finishing sixth at the National Cross Championships at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens.

After Poland, the fourth born in a family of eight has the World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada to look forward. For now, the ‘Chairman’ continues to keep his teammates training in Embu in high spirits thanks to the parody with AK chief.