Kenyans restore pride in Brussels
Posted Saturday, September 8 2012 at 19:14
- Vivian Cheruiyot, Silas Kiplagat and Emmanuel Bett lead their compatriots on a good night in the Belgian capital
- Kiplagat and Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremehdin saved themselves for a battle over the final 50 metres where Kiplagat eventually prevailed in 3:31.98, 0.12 ahead of the Ethiopian
- Vivian Cheruiyot one of 15 athletes who ended the evening at least $40,000 (about Sh3.4 million) richer with a Diamond Trophy in hand
Kenyans returned to form with brilliant performances in the Memorial van Damme in Brussels on Friday night, the final leg of the 2012 Samsung Diamond League series.
Vivian Cheruiyot, Silas Kiplagat and Emmanuel Bett led their compatriots on a good night in the Belgian capital. The men’s 1500m was an entertaining affair with a strong Kenyan contingent seeking revenge for their medal-less performance in London.
The winner there, Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi was running strong in the opening stages, running closest to the pacesetter through the 800-metre mark (1:52.25).
Through three laps, Kenyan Nixon Chepseba had the lead, one he wouldn’t surrender to the Algerian as the pair entered the final turn, running nearly stride-for-stride.
While Chepseba was busy fighting off and ultimately breaking Mahkloufi, Kiplagat and Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremehdin saved themselves for a battle over the final 50 metres where Kiplagat eventually prevailed in 3:31.98, 0.12 ahead of the Ethiopian.
Third straight Diamond Trophy
The victory also gave Kiplagat the Diamond Trophy with with 16 points, two ahead of Asbel Kiprop who, after missing two weeks of training, finished fifth. Kenyan Bethwell Birgen (3:32.24) and Matt Centrowitz Jr (3:32.47) of the US were third and fourth.
Vivian Cheruiyot powered away from the field over the final 300 metres to win both the race on the track and the one for the Trophy. Vivian clocked 14:46.01, more than a second clear of Mercy Cherono (14:47.18) to tally 18 points in the Diamond Race, just two better than Cherono.
This was the third straight Diamond Trophy victory for Cheruiyot, who raced to Olympic 5000m silver and 10,000m bronze in London.
Vivian was one of 15 athletes who ended the evening at least $40,000 (about Sh3.4 million) richer with a Diamond Trophy in hand.
With Paul Kipsiele Koech starting the race with an insurmountable 11-point lead, there was no drama in the Diamond Trophy hunt, but there was a point to prove for Brimin Kipruto, the 2008 Olympic champion who fell in the Olympic final last month and finished a distant fifth.
Here the 27-year-old ran confidently en route to an 8:03.11 victory, comfortably ahead of his 19-year-old namesake Conseslus Kipruto the reigning World youth and junior champion, who clocked 8:03.49. Koech, who also won the first two Diamond Races in the event, was third in 8:04.01.
“I’m looking forward to winning it for the fourth time next year!” the 30-year-old Koech said. Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett won the 10,000m in a world-leading time of 26:51.16.