Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kenyan stars rule athletics world, again!

Kenya's Hellen Kimutai celebrates after winning the women's Vienna City Marathon April 18, 2010. She won the 18th Rome Marathon on March 18, 2012. Photo/REUTERS.

Kenya's Hellen Kimutai celebrates after winning the women's Vienna City Marathon April 18, 2010. She won the 18th Rome Marathon on March 18, 2012. Photo/REUTERS. 

By AYUMBA AYODI [email protected]

It was another successful day for Kenyan athletics as the country’s athletes swept to victories at the Africa Cross Country Championships in Cape Town and on the road at the Rome and Seoul marathons.

The 2010 World Cross Country Championships junior silver medallist, Clement Langat, ensured Kenya retained the senior men’s 12km title when he triumphed in 35 minutes and 43.0 seconds, beating Medhin Teklemariam of Eritrea and Ethiopian Atsedu Tsegay in 35:50.0 and 36:14.0 respectively at the Cape.

It was a great victory for the 20-year-old, Japan-based Langat, who had just recovered from a nasty injury after he was knocked down by a donkey while training in Eldoret last April.

Timothy Kiptoo, the 2012 KCB/AK Cross Country Championships jackpot winner, finished fourth in 36:26.0, followed by the 2012 World Cross Country Championships bronze medallist Vincent Chepkok (36.27.0). Fredrick Musyoki wound a distant 14th in 37:34.0.

Kenya champion Joyce Chepkurui orchestrated a Kenyan sweep of the first four places, winning the senior women’s 8km race in 27:04.0.

Retained team title

World junior champion Faith Chepng’etich (19:32.0) kept her promise of winning the junior women’s 6km title after leading Agnes Jebet (19:34.) and Nancy Chepkwemoi (19:37.0) in another podium sweep.

Injured Alice Aprot didn’t make it to the starting line, denying Kenya the team title.

Japhet Korir lost his junior title, finishing second behind Ethiopian Muktar Idris Awel. But Kenya retained the team title with individual victories in senior men’s 12km, senior women’s 8km and junior women’s 6km.

The junior men’s individual title fell to Ethiopia.

Marathon victories

Elsewhere, rookie Wilson Loyanae Erupe ran to a surprise victory in the Seoul Marathon, clocking a personal best 2:05:37 and setting a new course record that erased the previous of 2:06:49 by compatriot Sylvester Teimet in 2010.

AFP news agency reported that Kenyan athletes dominated the men’s top places where James Kipsang Kwambai came in 2:06:03, followed by Eliud Kiptanui 2:06:44, Philip Sanga 2:06:51 and Felix Keny (2:07:31.

In Rome, Luka Lokobe Kanda and Hellen Kimutai secured a Kenyan double in the Rome Marathon.

Kanda won the men’s event in 2:08:04 to finish ahead of compatriot Samson Kiprono Barmao while Kimutai won her race in 2:31:11 to beat Ethiopian Ashete Dido Bekele with Marina Kovalyova of Russia taking third place.

“This was one of the most successful days in Kenyan athletics and it gives us impetus on the road to the London Olympic Games,” a jubilant Athletics Kenya chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, said on Sunday.

“The six out of possible eight gold medals won by Kenya in Cape Town is a fantastic performance.”

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