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Rogers Kwemoi stunned top-seeded athletes at the 2021 Kenyan Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Commonwealth Games 10,000-metre bronze medallist upset two of the fastest half-marathon runners in the world Kibiwott Kandie and Geoffrey Kamworor. Kandie was the defending champion from 2020.
Kamworor dropped off after the second lap, however, Kandie and Kwemoi traded leads until Kwemoi dropped the hammer during the final lap to cross the finish line of the 10K race in 32:03. Kandie clocked a 32:05 while the third-place finisher Edwin Kibet was five seconds back.
“It was a good race but I felt tired towards the last two laps. I tried to kick when Kwemoi overtook me in the last lap but two of the athletes, who were in front blocked me,” said Kandie.
Kwemoi is no slouch having finished fourth during the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships recording a finish time in the 10,000m of 26:55.36.
Kandie owns the half-marathon world record with his Valencia 2020 performance on Dec. 6 of 57:32. Kamworor is the former half-marathon world record holder. He recorded a best of 58:01 in 2019. He is also a three-time World Half Marathon Champion and two-time New York City Marathon champion.
Next up is the African Championships happening March 6 in Togo.