London Olympics 5000m bronze medallist, Thomas Longosiwa and World Indoor 3,000m champion, Helen Obiri, were in choice form as they triumphed at the Mohammed VI IAAF Challenge in Morocco on Sunday.
Having fell short at the Diamond League meetings of Prefontaine Classic and Rome, Longosiwa was in his element, and ruled the roost in men’s 5,000m with a season’s best of 13:03.58.
Longosiwa, who finished fourth in Prefontaine Classic in 13:07.55 and 11th in Rome in 13:33.97, beat Aweke Ayalew from Bahrain to second place in 13:05.00 as home runner, Aziz Lahbabi, crossed the line in 13:09.45 to close the podium finish. Another Kenyan, Albert Rop, clocked 13:09.84 to finish fourth.
On her part, Obiri was oozing excellence, posting another splendid show as she turned on the afterburners on the home-straight to win in 4:03.55, having hauled a personal best of 3:58.58 in the 1,500m at the Prefontaine Classic.
Obiri’s compatriot, Mary Kuria, won an epic battle for second place, beating Albania’s Luiza Gega in 4:05.40 against 4:05.79 as Eunice Sum, who lost in the semi-finals at the London Olympics, finished fourth in 4:06.66.
Other Kenyans including, London Olympics 800m representative, Anthony Chemut, and winner of 3,000m steeplechase in Doha and Prefontaine Classic, Lydia Chepkurui, fared poorly in their events.
Interestingly, for the first time, a Kenyan failed to sparkle in men’s 3,000m steeplechase.
With the absence of Olympic and World champion, David Rudisha, Chemut (1:45.48) could only sink to third place followed by compatriots Edwin Kiplagat (1:45.88) and Jeremiah Kipkorir (1:46.69) in the 800m race won by Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman in 1:44.37.
The Ethiopian, the only athlete to have beaten Rudisha in the last two years, edged out American Duane Solomon (1:44.91) for top prize.
Chepkurui (9:18.77), who won in Doha and Prefontaine before coming second in Rome, lost the steeplechase battle to Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew (9:18.72), whose countryman, Diro Etenesh (9:22.87) finished third.
Frenchman Yoann Kowal beat Kenyans at their own game, winning the men’s 3,000m steeplechase in 8:12.53. He beat home runner Hamid Ezzine (8:13.27).