Saturday, April 3, 2010

Excitement as Pamela Jelimo returns to track with victory

By FRANCIS MUREITHI and DAVID MACHARIA 

The Beijing Olympics women 800m gold medalist Pamela Jelimo on Saturday made a triumphant return to local athletics scene when she conquered the muddy track of Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology to win in 2:06.1 during the third New KCC / AK weekend meeting.

This was Jelimo’s first win on track since the World Championships in Berlin last August. The was a lot excitement when the announcer introduced her to the crowd as both runners and spectators waited to see the African champion in action.

Apparently not many among the athletes and organisers were aware that Jelimo was taking part in the meet which attracted one of the biggest number of entries since the weekend meetings got under way in Kisumu and Nyeri.

“Is this the Jelimo who won us a gold medal in Beijing Olympics. I cannot believe it,” some upcoming junior  athletes from Njoro district who were featuring in the meet  exclaimed excitedly.

So star struck were they that they requested to have their pictures taken with the African champion. Jelimo readily obliged with a big smile.

“I’m now on a serious comeback and I would have done marvelous on this track but the mud slowed me down,” Jelimo told the Sunday Nation after the race .

Knee injury

She said she was using the weekend meeting to test her fitness after being out of action with a knee injury.

“The doctors told me the injury was a bit serious and could have affected my tendon but thank God I’m now okay and today’s win is just a start of the big things to come ,” she said .

Jelimo who clocked 2:06,  said she will be participating in the fourth weekend meeting in Mumias in two weeks time .

Jelimo was given a fright in the opening lap by 20 year old Winnie Jebet (2:06.6) but the senior Africa champion put the junior in her place in second position.

“It was not a bad race as I had prepared myself but Jelimos long strides in the home stretch enabled her to clinch the victory,” said Jebet who has just completed her secondary education.

Jebet who is best remembered for denying South African Caster Semenya a gold during the Mauritius championships, said she was sure of attaining the qualifying mark of 2;06  and represent the country in the forthcoming 17th Senior African Championships set to be held in Nairobi from July 28 – August 1.

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